The widow of a 77-year-old man has filed an arbitration claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against Ameriprise Financial Services on allegations an Ameriprise broker failed to appropriately advise her elderly husband about a variable annuity purchase and further botched the beneficiary designation on the investment.
According to the claim, Deborah Amilowski, a broker with Ameriprise’s Hauppauge, New York office, recommended an unsuitable RiverSource variable annuity as an initial investment to the woman’s husband. As reported Aug. 27 by Investment News, when the client purchased the annuity in 2005, he was over the maximum age allowed for the guaranteed death benefit. As a result, any heirs would only be eligible to receive the market value of the annuity at time of his death, according to the claim.
The investor placed $850,000 into the annuity over a one-year period, according the Investment News article.
The original beneficiary on the annuity was an irrevocable trust, according to the claim, but the investor had instructed the Ameriprise broker to change the beneficiary designation to a revocable trust. Ameriprise reportedly informed the client (whose name has not been released) that his change request had been fulfilled. However, at the time of his death in March 2008, his family discovered that the change never made it to processing.
During the time that Ameriprise investigated the beneficiary designation issue, the account’s value went from more than $1 million to a little more than $750,000. The annuity was liquidated in October, 2008.
The widow is seeking damages for the unsuitable annuity recommendation, as well as for Ameriprise’s alleged negligence in failing to either pay out the benefit in a timely manner or to protect the annuity’s value.