According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) advisor Jack Owens (Owens) left his employer Gradient Securities, LLC (Gradient Securities) in June 2018 on the heels of numerous customer complaints and regulatory sanctions. BrokerCheck shows that Owens operates his business through a d/b/a Premier Financial Resources and Premier Financial Solutions. Owens has been subject to six customer complaints surrounding Owens’ sales of variable annuities. Owens has also been subject to four regulatory actions. The most recent regulatory action in January 2013 by the State of Florida accused Owens advised a senior investor to exchange a variable annuity for another product that was not suitable.
The most recent customer complaint in April 2018 states that there were discrepancies between what Owens told the customer about a variable annuity at the time of the sale and what the product actually was. The complaint was denied by the firm.
Variable annuities are complex financial and insurance products. In fact, recently the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released a publication entitled: Variable Annuities: What You Should Know encouraging investors to ask questions about the variable annuity before investing. Essentially, a variable annuity is a contract with an insurance company under which the insurer agrees to make periodic payments to you. The investor chooses the investments made in the annuity and value of your variable annuity will vary depending on the performance of the investment options chosen. The primary benefits of variable annuities are the death benefit and tax deferment of investment gains.
However, the benefits of variable annuities are often outweighed by the terms of the contract that include exorbitant expenses such as surrender charges, mortality and expense charges, management fees, market-related risks, and rider costs.
The number of complaints against Owens are unusual compared to his peers. According to newsources, only about 7.3% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records among brokers employed from 2005 to 2015. Brokers must publicly disclose reportable events on their CRD customer complaints, IRS tax liens, judgments, investigations, and even criminal matters. However, studies have found that there are fraud hotspots such as certain parts of California, New York or Florida, where the rates of disclosure can reach 18% or higher. Moreover, according to the New York Times, BrokerCheck may be becoming increasing inaccurate and understate broker misconduct as studies have shown that 96.9% of broker requests to clean their records of complaints are granted.
Owens entered the securities industry in 1992. From December 2009 through June 2018 Owens was associated with Gradient Securities out of the firm’s Lady Lake, Florida office location.
Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation. At Gana Weinstein LLP, our attorneys are experienced representing investors who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts. Claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.