According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Leon Almeida (Almeida), formerly employed by MML Investors Services, LLC (MML Investors) has been subject to four customer disputes and one criminal matter during his career. According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the customer complaints against Almeida concerns allegations over variable annuity sales practices.
In August 2019 a customer complained that Almeida violated the securities laws by alleging that Almeida sold him a new variable annuity in 2016, which was misrepresented, after first advising him that the company that held his existing account wouldn’t be remaining in business. The claim is currently pending.
In March 2019 a customer complained that Almeida violated the securities laws by alleging that that the AIG Variable Annuity Almeida sold to him in 2018 was an inappropriate investment and he would like his money returned. The claim was withdrawn.
In January 2019 a customer complained that Almeida violated the securities laws by alleging that the VAs Almeida sold to him in 2018 were misrepresented and he wants his investment returned. The claim settled for $19,038.
Variable annuities are complex financial and insurance products. In fact, 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.
According to newsources, a study revealed that 7.3% of financial advisors had a customer complaint on their record when records from 2005 to 2015 were examined. Brokers must publicly disclose reportable events on their BrokerCheck reports that include customer complaints, IRS tax liens, judgments, investigations, terminations, and criminal cases. In addition, research has show a disturbing pattern with troublesome brokers where brokers with high numbers of customer complaints are not kicked out of the industry but instead these brokers are sifted to lower quality brokerage firms with loose hiring practices and higher rates of customer complaints. These lower quality firms may average brokers with five times as many complaints as the industry average.
Almeida entered the securities industry in 2009. From November 2011 until March 2017 Almeida was registered with MSI Financial Services, Inc. Since March 2017, Almeida has been associated with MML Investors out of the firm’s Paramus, New Jersey 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.