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The Law Office Of Jeffrey M. Haber Investigates The Variable Annuity Replacement Business Of Metlife Securities Inc.

  • Posted on: Sep 16 2016

New York, N.Y. – September 16, 2016 – The Law Office of Jeffrey M. Haber (the “Firm”) has commenced an investigation into potential securities and regulatory violations related to variable annuity replacement products sold by MetLife Securities Inc. (“MetLife”).
On May 3, 2016, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) announced that it had fined MetLife $20 million and ordered it to pay $5 million in restitution for making misrepresentations and omissions on variable annuity replacement applications for tens of thousands of customers. According to FINRA, each misrepresentation and omission made the replacement product appear more beneficial to the customer, even though they were more expensive than customers’ existing annuity.

FINRA found that from 2009 through 2014, MetLife misrepresented or omitted material facts relating to the costs and guarantees of customers’ existing variable annuity contracts. Among them include:

  • MetLife represented that customers’ existing variable annuities were more expensive than the recommended product, when in fact, the existing variable annuities were less expensive;
  • MetLife failed to disclose that the proposed replacement would reduce or eliminate important features in existing variable annuities, such as accrued death benefits, guaranteed income benefits, and a guaranteed fixed interest account rider; and
  •  MetLife understated the value of customers’ existing death benefits.

FINRA also found that MetLife failed to:

  • ensure that its registered representatives obtained and assessed accurate information concerning replacement variable annuities, and did not adequately train its registered representatives to compare the costs and guarantees involved in replacing one product with another;
  • supervise sales of, and provide training with respect to, the Guaranteed Minimum Income Benefit (“GMIB”) rider, MetLife’s bestselling feature for its variable annuities, which was marketed to customers as a means of providing a guaranteed future income stream; and
  • provide customers with accurate quarterly account statements – MetLife understated the total charges and fees incurred on certain variable annuity contracts.

The Firm’s investigation pertains to the following MetLife variable annuities, among others:

MetLife Access Variable Annuity;

MetLife Access Select Variable Annuity;

MetLife Accumulation Variable Annuity;

MetLife Asset Builder Variable Annuity;

MetLife Flexible Premium Deferred Variable Annuity;

MetLife Investors Variable Annuity;

MetLife Investors Custom Select Variable Annuity; and

MetLife Investors COVA Variable Annuity.

Customers who purchased replacement variable annuities from MetLife and have questions about their investments or information relating to this investigation are encouraged to contact Jeffrey M. Haber, Esq. at (212) 209-1005, or info@jhaberlaw.com.

About the Firm:

The Law Office of Jeffrey M. Haber is dedicated to representing corporations, small businesses, partnerships and individuals involved in a broad range of complex business and commercial litigation matters and violations of the securities laws. Mr. Haber combines the sophistication and counsel of a large national law firm with the economy, flexibility, commitment and personal attention of a small firm.

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