Ameritas Investment Corp Fails To Supervise Equity Indexed Annuities

Ameritas Investment Corp., a brokerage firm headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska, has been censured and fined $145,000.00 by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) based upon consenting to findings that the firm failed to supervise recommendations made by its registered representatives pertaining to equity indexed annuities. Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent, No. 2015046904101 (Jan. 11, 2017).

According to the AWC, in October of 2013, the firm treated its registered representatives’ sales of equity indexed annuities as outside business activities. Apparently, the firm’s policies as of October 1, 2013, called for registered representatives to provide the firm with notice when sales of the equity indexed annuities had been effected. Apparently; however, there was no adequate firm supervision or recording of sales which were effected by the firm’s registered representatives when securities were liquidated to make the purchases of the annuities.

The AWC revealed that from 2013 to 2016, there were one-hundred and twenty-five circumstances in which the firm’s registered representatives had been compensated as a result of making recommendations to customers to liquidate positions in securities and ultimately make equity indexed annuity purchases. FINRA found that the firm, from October of 2013 through the middle of 2016, did not adequately supervise recommendations made by the firm’s registered representatives in this regard. Consequently, the firm’s conduct was found by FINRA to be violative of FINRA Rules 3110(a) and 3010(a).

The AWC further stated that sales effected by registered representatives for compensation were not analyzed by Ameritas for purposes of treating the activities as outside securities transactions. FINRA cited the firm for violating FINRA Rule 3270 as a result of the firm’s failure to identify whether the registered representatives’ actions in this regard constituted outside business activities. Further, transactions stemming from the firm’s registered representatives’ recommendations were not evaluated or endorsed. Consequently, the AWC stated that the firm’s conduct was violative of FINRA Rule 4511(a) and 2010.

FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that Ameritas Investment Corp. has been named in fourteen regulatory incidents, in addition to a customer initiated investment related arbitration claim concerning allegations of the firm’s misconduct.

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