Articles Tagged with Transamerica

shutterstock_128856874-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor Michael Lyle (Lyle), currently employed by Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. (Transamerica) has been subject to four customer complaints and one tax lien during during his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many of the customer complaints against Lyle concern allegations over variable annuity sales practices.

In January 2019 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Lyle violated the securities laws by, among other things, that the product was misrepresented in that she was told she would receive returns of $7,500 monthly but that Lyle had failed to inform her of the IRS penalties for early withdrawals causing $100,000 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

In June 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Lyle violated the securities laws by, among other things, that the product was unsuitable and that Lyle failed to inform her of the IRS penalty for early withdrawals causing $73,594 in damages.  The claim was denied.

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.

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shutterstock_132317306-300x200The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating multiple claims that advisor Michael Mackay (Mackay) has engaged in the sale products not approved by his brokerage firm.  Mackay, formerly registered with Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. (Transamerica) out of Cincinnati, Ohio has been accused by at least one customer of engaging in unapproved activity.  In addition, Mackay disclosed that he has several tax liens totaling over $50,000.

In January 2019 Transamerica terminated Mackay after alleging that the firm received allegations from two customers that the Mackay had referred them to an outside investment opportunity that was not approved by the firm.

Mackay’s FINRA disclosures state that Mackay has several outside business activities including Mackay & Associates, The Homexchange, and WFG.

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shutterstock_27786601The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating a customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Bruce Slater (Slater).  According to BrokerCheck records Slater has been subject to at least four customer complaints.  The customer complaints against Slater alleges securities law violations that including unsuitable investments and misrepresentations among other claims.   Many of the complaints involve direct participation products (DPPs) and private placements including oil and gas partnerships – including Ridgewood Energy-, non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs), variable annuities, and other alternative investments.

Our firm has represented many clients in these types of products.  All of these investments come with high costs and historically have underperformed even safe benchmarks, like U.S. treasury bonds.  For example, products like oil and gas partnerships, REITs, and other alternative investments are only appropriate for a narrow band of investors under certain conditions due to the high costs, illiquidity, and huge redemption charges of the products, if they can be redeemed.  However, due to the high commissions brokers earn on these products they sell them to investors who cannot profit from them.  Further, investor often fail to understand that they have lost money until many years after agreeing to the investment.  In sum, for all of their costs and risks, investors in these programs are in no way additionally compensated for the loss of liquidity, risks, or cost.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client.  In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements.  First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors.  Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.