Thursday, August 6, 2009
FINRA fined Ameritas Investment Corp. $100,000 and suspended and fined one of its brokers for inducing customers to take on additional mortgage and/or home equity debt in order to purchase variable universal life insurance policies (VULs). Those policies were pitched to customers as mechanisms for funding college expenses and retirement.
Ameritas was sanctioned for failing to adequately supervise broker Nancy Ziering, who was based in New Jersey, and for advertising violations related to her financial plans. FINRA found that the financial plans she created and were misleading and that her recommendations to customers to purchase VUL policies were unsuitable. Although the plans were marketed as a way to demonstrate how customers could save for college and retirement, in nearly every instance they recommended that the customer purchase a VUL policy issued by an affiliate of Ameritas, using money obtained from a mortgage refinancing or home equity loan. Ziering was fined $60,000 and suspended for nine months.