The law firm of Oakes & Fosher is presently investigating the alleged misconduct of securities broker Leon Almeida. According to his publicly available FINRA BrokerCheck report, Leon Almeida has been the subject of multiple customer disputes over the course of his career.
Leon Almeida is a New Jersey based securities broker. He has worked in the securities industry for ten years. During his career, he was registered with three different securities firms.
- David Lerner Associates (2009-2011)
- MSI Financial Services (2011-2017)
- MML Investors Services (2017-Present)
- In February 2013, a customer alleged that Leon Almeida unsuitably recommended they invest funds in a non-traded REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trust. This case was settled for approximately $25,000 in damages.
- Leon Almeida became the subject of two complaints in 2019 with identical allegations. The customers alleged that Almeida misrepresented variable annuities that they then purchased. These cases are both pending. The customers are seeking an undisclosed amount in damages.
What Does This Mean?
Variable annuities are often the subject of broker misrepresentation due to their complex nature. They are investment vehicles in which the investor spends years paying scheduled premiums up until they retire–at which point they begin receiving scheduled distributions that act as their income. The premiums that an investor pays during the annuity’s “surrender” period are invested into the equities market. The amount that an investor receives during their retirement is entirely dependent on how well the invested premiums performed.
One aspect of variable annuities that often goes misrepresented or omitted by brokers is how truly illiquid they are. Investors are unable to withdraw from, or surrender, their variable annuity during its surrender period without being charged incredibly high penalties for doing so. These penalties are so large that it diminishes any chance of seeing a return on investment should an investor be forced to liquidate assets. Because of this, variable annuities should never be recommended to investors with higher liquidity needs. However, this fact often goes undisclosed to investors who are distraught when they find out about the harsh penalties.
Another aspect of variable annuities that is often misrepresented is that of the income benefit rider. One worry of variable annuity holders is that the market will drop and they will receive less money during retirement then what they paid in premiums. There is a form of insurance for these products known as the minimum income benefit rider. This guarantees that the individual will receive at least a predetermined amount no matter what the market drops to. However, these riders cost a great deal of money–a fact which many who invest in annuities are not made aware of by their securities broker.
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 may 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 Leon Almeida, 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.