The law firm of Oakes & Fosher is presently investigating the possible misconduct of former securities broker Ellen Vratoric. According to her publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report, Ellen Vratoric has been the subject of a customer complaint, employment termination, and a FINRA sanction.

Ellen Vratoric was a Pennsylvania based securities broker who worked in the securities industry for twenty-two years. During her career, she was registered with six different securities firms. She is no longer working as a registered securities broker in any fashion.

Her Registrations

  • Spectrum Securities Corporation (1993-1997)
  • Independent Financial Securities (1997-1998)
  • Liberty Securities Corporation (1998-1999)
  • Natcity Investments (1997-2006)
  • LPL Financial (2007-2008)
  • The Huntington Investment Company (2008-2016)

The Allegations

  • In November 2015, a customer alleged that Ellen Vratoric transferred $43,000 into a variable annuity without the client’s permission. She also allegedly did not disclose to the customer that the variable annuity could lose value, or inform the customer about the necessity to take a required minimum distribution from the annuity. This case was settled for $23,590.
  • In March 2016, Ellen Vratoric was terminated from her position at the Huntington Investment Company due to an increasing number of customer complaints regarding the purchase of variable and fixed annuities, as well as allegedly having a document integrity issue.
  • She was officially sanctioned by FINRA in December 2017. FINRA began an investigation following her termination and the increasing number of customers who complained about her recommendations of variable and fixed annuities. Ellen Vratoric allegedly failed to provide on-the-record testimony for the investigation. Due to that alleged failure, she was barred by FINRA from acting as a securities broker in any fashion.

What are Annuities?

Annuities are investment vehicles that involve investors paying scheduled premiums for a predetermined period of time. This continues until the investor retires, at which point they begin receiving scheduled distributions as their income. Fixed Annuities are relatively straight forward. The amount that an investor receives during their retirement is dependent on the premiums they paid plus interests. Variable Annuities operate a little differently. The premiums that an investor pays are invested into the market like any other securities. The amount that they receive during retirement is dependent on how well said premiums had been invested.

The truth about these products is that they are actually unsuitable for many investors. They are incredibly illiquid products that should not be recommended to individuals with higher liquidity needs. This is because customers are charged excessively high penalties when they are forced to withdraw from their annuity during its surrender period. They are also accompanied by other upfront fees that drastically lower investor principals. Investors would be much better off saving for retirement through any other means besides an annuity. The reason that these products are so feverishly recommended to unsuited investors is because they provide recommending brokers with higher than average commissions. Many less than scrupulous securities brokers only recommend these products to customers to increase their own commissions.

Oakes & Fosher Can Help

Many investors are unaware of the legal recourse available to them after losing money due to securities broker fraud and/or negligence. The truth is that investors who have lost money in this fashion might actually be entitled to damages. Oakes & Fosher dedicates its entire legal practice to helping investors across the nation. If you, or someone you know, have lost money investing with Ellen Vratoric, please contact Oakes & Fosher for a free and private consultation. Oakes & Fosher handles cases on a contingency basis, which means there are no fees charged unless we collect for you.