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Regulatory Sanctions

LPL Financial, Adviser Defrauded Retirees – Mass. Regulator

December 1, 2016

[Photo: by Spinnick597 / Wikimedia Commons]


William Galvin, Massachusetts' top financial regulator, on Thursday charged a Boston-based investment adviser and his employer, LPL Financial, with fraudulently selling annuities to retirees.


Roger Zullo allegedly defrauded his clients, lied to supervisors and fabricated client financial suitability profiles to enrich himself and his employer by selling identical, illiquid, and high-commission variable annuities, the state said in its complaint. LPL Financial was charged with having failed to properly supervise Zullo.


According to the regulator’s complaint, Zullo:

  • earned $1.8Mn in VA commissions over a 3-year period, making nearly all of the money by selling the same annuity product - the Polaris Platinum III (B shares).
  • had a pattern of switching clients, including many nurses and other healthcare professionals, out of their annuities every 6 or 7 years and earning commissions "over and over again from the same clients."
  • met one client at a subway station near his office in early 2015 to sign the paperwork to switch her into Polaris Plantinum annuity.
  • bypassed LPL's paper-thin compliance review process for these sales by fabricating client financial suitability information, such as age and liquid net worth."


Galvin seeks to revoke Zullo's state registrations and to disgorge him and LPL of all profit and other payments they received from the alleged wrongdoing.