In February 2017, broker James Geake (Geake) was subject to a customer complaint alleging $347,083 in damages concerning equity indexed annuities. The customer alleges that he was sold equity indexed annuities that gave the broker a bonus for signing clients and that it was a bait and switch scheme. The complaint is currently pending.
Geake is currently associated with Madison Avenue Securities, LLC (Madison Avenue). The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating customer complaints concerning this broker. According BrokerCheck Geake has a total of four customer complaint disclosures including allegations of unsuitable investments in annuities and alternative investments among other claims.
Equity indexed and 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 Geake 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.
Geake entered the securities industry in January 1995. Since 2006 Geake has been associated with Madison Avenue out of the firm’s Skokie, Illinois office location.
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.