FINRA has accused a former MetLife Securities Inc. and Pruco Securities Inc. broker, Winston Wade Turner, of harmful and deceptive variable annuity sales practices. According to FINRA’s complaint, Turner allegedly “engaged in a course of deception and other misconduct in connection with sales and exchanges of variable annuities involving numerous customers.”
Turner also allegedly induced some clients to exchange their variable annuities and other investments, whereby they surrendered existing contracts to fund purchases of new variable annuities, sometimes incurring surrender charges for the investor and generating additional commissions for Turner.
He concealed the unsuitability of these transactions by falsifying documents and misrepresenting the way some income features on the annuity contracts worked, according to the complaint. More specifically, Turner allegedly hid the nature of the variable annuity transactions by circumventing the “additional supervisory scrutiny and documentation” required for these exchanges, the complaint says.
In some cases, Turner hid his actions by recommending clients deposit proceeds from the surrender of the variable annuity contracts into their bank accounts, and then using that bank money to buy new variable annuities, rather than doing it as a direct transfer from annuity to annuity, according to the complaint.
He also allegedly falsified variable annuity applications, customer information forms, and related documents for variable annuity exchanges; forged customer signatures; and misrepresented his own e-mail address as that of customers to ensure he received account notifications rather than his clients.
Further, Turner allegedly falsely represented the function of income riders on some of the variable annuity contracts, telling clients that their contracts would generate a guaranteed minimum amount of interest annually. In fact, the contracts only guaranteed minimum withdrawal or annuitization rates, not annual interest accruals, through features such as a guaranteed minimum income benefit, the complaint says.
In sum, twelve separate clients were referenced in FINRA’s complaint, which alleges $151,000 in lost money between five of those clients because of charges incurred for surrendering the variable annuity contracts.
Turner was a registered representative of MetLife Securities from 2011 to 2013 and with Pruco from 2013 to 2015. He was terminated by Pruco in August 2015 for making an unsuitable recommendation and providing inaccurate information regarding the transaction, according to the FINRA complaint.
According to FINRA’s BrokerCheck, there are currently four pending customer disputes against Turner, all filed since October.
If you or someone you know has lost money as a result of Winston Wade Turner or another investment adviser’s misconduct, please contact Richard Frankowski at 888-741-7503 to discuss your potential legal remedies or complete the contact form.