Yet another reason Your Survival Guy eschews annuities. Annuities can be pushed by opportunistic salesmen. They are often loaded with fees, and are an insurance product. Mark Maremont and Leslie Scism report in The Wall Street Journal:
Massachusetts securities regulators said they are investigating a unit of Citizens Financial Group Inc. over its sales of a savings product offered by an insurer controlled by now-indicted financier Greg Lindberg.
News of the probe follows an article published this week in The Wall Street Journal, which reported that tens of thousands of people, many of them retirees, had a total of $2.2 billion of their money frozen since 2019 amid the implosion of Mr. Lindberg’s insurance empire.
Citizens Securities, whose representatives worked in many Citizens Bank branches, was a major seller of annuities from Colorado Bankers Life Insurance, the biggest Lindberg insurer. Colorado Bankers ramped up sales of fixed annuities, a product akin to a bank certificate of deposit, in 2017 and 2018, not long after Mr. Lindberg acquired it, according to the insurer’s regulatory filings.
The probe was confirmed by a spokeswoman in Secretary of Commonwealth William Galvin’s office, which regulates securities brokers in Massachusetts. The spokeswoman said the investigation started recently and also is focusing on individual Citizens Securities brokers but declined to provide other details.
“As with any investigation or potential investigation we would decline to comment,” a spokesman for Citizens Financial said.
The alleged wrongdoing by Mr. Lindberg “is a matter of large-scale criminal fraud that impacted many investors,” the spokesman said. “It is very unfortunate that our customers and others have suffered as a result of this situation and we are committed to doing what we can to help alleviate the impacts, including offering liquidity programs for customers who are experiencing hardship.”
Mr. Lindberg was indicted last month on federal fraud and conspiracy charges, which alleged he loaned $2 billion of his insurers’ funds to companies in his private conglomerate while allegedly siphoning off large sums to finance his lavish lifestyle. He has pleaded not guilty and is out on bail. A Lindberg spokeswoman has said that no insurance company funds have been used for Mr. Lindberg’s personal expenses.
Action Line: Stick with owning your own portfolio of individual stocks and bonds. When you need help, let’s talk. In the meantime, click here to subscribe to my free email club.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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