FINRA banned Winston Wade Turner, a former Prudential Financial Inc. and MetLife Inc. broker, from the securities industry for making unsuitable variable annuity recommendations. Turner misled clients by misrepresenting and omitting material facts about the sales, according to the regulatory authority. Additionally, Turner hid that he convinced a number of clients to surrender existing variable annuities and, in a few instances, to sell other investments to fund their purchases of new variable annuities he was recommending, FINRA says.

FINRA also says that exchanging annuities necessitates heightened supervisory scrutiny because of their relatively high commissions and costs. Pruco Securities Inc., a brokerage subsidiary of Prudential, terminated Turner’s employment in August of last year due to the misleading sales practices.

“Turner’s unethical and dishonest actions, and his willingness to take unfair advantage of customers who placed their trust in him, demonstrate that he is unfit to remain in the securities industry,” according to FINRA’s statement.

In November 2012, Turner had a client move $108,000 of retirement assets into a MetLife variable annuity, wrongly assuring her that she would earn 4.5% a year, FINRA says. In reality, there was no guaranteed annual return. Turner allegedly scheduled monthly withdrawals at a 4.5% annual rate, misleading the client into believing she was receiving an investment return when she actually was diminishing the value of her account.

In another instance, Winston Wade Turner allegedly got a client to buy a Prudential variable annuity funded by the surrender of a MetLife variable annuity that he had sold the client only six months before. He claimed that the client did not have any existing annuities. However, in January 2014, she paid a surrender charge of over $27,000.

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