By Elizabeth D. Festa
In another chapter in the annals, "Social Media for Agents
: Friend or Foe," FINRA recently suspended and fined a registered representative for social media faux pas involving equity index annuities
The individual publicly disseminated videos through YouTube, invitations to seminars and letters regarding bonus incentives that did not comply with FINRA’s rules, according to the settlement.
FINRA suspended the registered representative in all capacities for 20 business days and fined him $10,000.
FINRA alleges that the representative presented equity index annuities favorably in comparison to other types of annuities without disclosing the risks and limitations associated with them, among other things. Moreover, FINRA said the comparisons contained incomplete information. The representative also presented customer testimonials in videos without making the required disclosures.
The “communications also presented oversimplified claims that omitted material information or failed to provide a sound basis for evaluating the facts, and contained exaggerated, unwarranted or misleading statements. The rep also allegedly failed to file with FINRA
advertising that discussed registered investment companies within 10 business days of its first use or publication, FINRA reported.
FINRA found that the representative’s actions violated NASD Rule 2210 involving communications with the public as well as FINRA Rule 2010 involving ethical standards.
Equity index annuities are often billed as the fastest growing segment of the annuity market. There were record indexed annuity sales of $33.9 billion posted in 2012, according to the Life Insurance and Market Research Association, now LIMRA International Inc.
The rep's alleged improper actions allegedly took place during a two-year period.
There are many YouTube videos that discuss index products posted by professionals and owners of the products. And someone in Washington is watching them.
FINRA was in the news a couple of years back when it suspended and fined a California-based broker $10,000 for her Tweets that the agency found "misrepresentative and unbalanced."
Originally published on LifeHealthPro.com