In June 2016, Next Financial Group, Inc. (Next Financial) broker Dion Padilla (Padilla) was subject to a regulatory action brought by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) alleging Padilla effected an unauthorized purchase of a variable annuity for a customer and misrepresented that the investment was not a variable annuity. According to FINRA, the customer stressed to Padilla that they did not want any of their funds invested in a variable annuity due to the high fees associated with variable annuities and because of their desire for liquidity. But instead of following the customer’s instructions, FINRA found that Padilla presented a variable annuity application to the customer and assured him that the application was not for a variable annuity. In addition, FINRA found that Padilla caused the customer to invest an additional $558,889 into the variable annuity by falsely claiming that the investment purchased was not a variable annuity. FINRA found these statements to be misrepresentations that were all false and misleading.
In addition to the FINRA sanctions, Padilla has been subject to four customer complaints – many of which involve claims concerning variable annuity investments. The law offices of Gana LLP are currently investigating customer complaints concerning this broker.