A securities dealer and the company she worked for has run afoul of the state securities commissioner. Now they’re paying almost a quarter million dollars in fines, penalties, and restitution. State securities commissioner Matt Kitzi says agent Jolee Martin of St. Charles and World Group Securities, her employer, sold 1.2-million dollars worth of unsuitable investment recommendations to people 72 to 87 years old, at least two of whom live in nursing homes. They sold variable annuities. Kitzi says there were cases whent he products were switched when they should not have been, with surrender fees and penalties assessed that should not have been assessed. He says there were times when clients had a high percentage of their net worth locked up in variable annuities that limited access to their funds. Kitzi says they also can be unsuitable, given the long periods in which money is locked up, or a variety of add-on features. He says the products were not well explained, or sometimes were not easy to read or see—after all he says, one of the clients is 87 years old. Kitzi says variable annunities can be suitable….but not in these cases. Martin’s registration has been suspended for four months. She is prohibited from doing business with clients over age 65 for five years. And she has to pay a 25-thousand dollar fine. World Group Securities is paying back to the clients 98-thousand dollars in commissions earned from their investments, and is paying 125-thousand dolalrs in other fines and payments.
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