Elizabeth Warren Exposes Cheesy, Sleazy Industry That Preys on Seniors' Finances

Annuities dealers are in charge of selling investment schemes to Americans who want an outside income to supplement their pensions and/or Social Security. Needless to say, this investment advice must be as precise and honest as possible, as they're dealing with people's retirement futures.

This is why Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) sent a letter today to 15 annuity providers asking them why these dealers are being offered incentives such as Super Bowl-style rings and cruises. The fear is that by using such incentives, the annuities companies are giving their dealers reasons to close deals that may well be bad for their clients while winning the dealers all sorts of perks and bonuses.

Some of the perks Warren highlights include:

  • A stay at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco and the “prestigious Calistoga Ranch and Spa,” given to American Equity agents who hit an annual $3 million annuity premium.

  • A trip to Oahu, Hawaii for agents at Lincoln Financial Group who get $165,000 in sales. If they get to $420,000, they'll get a trip to South Africa.

  • Magellan Financial Services offers iPads to agents who meet their monthly sales goals, calling it a “fast-start incentive.”

Warren then asks 15 fifteen companies to provide a list of the incentives and the qualifications required to earning them, with an eye toward conflicts of interest. She has given the companies until May 11 to respond.

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