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NEWSLETTERS & ALERTS
NYLife Broker Forged One Too Many Customer Signatures
by Howard Haykin
Throughout 2016 and 2017, the broker forged customers’ signatures on at least 14 insurance and variable annuity policy documents. While these transactions were no doubt processed fast and efficiently, and by and large they were authorized by customers, none of the customers ever authorized the broker to forge their signatures.
The end for this broker came swiftly. In August 2017, the broker forged a customer's signature on a variable annuity application. The customer knew nothing about the transaction but nonetheless agreed to keep the annuity contract. Two months later, in October, the broker forged another customer's signature on 2 insurance policy documents - which converted his term life insurance policy to a whole life insurance policy. That customer also knew nothing about the transaction, and neither authorized nor consented to, the policy conversion. NYLife Securities reversed the transaction and fired the broker. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA, barred the broker from the industry.
FORGED SIGNATURES NOT WORTH THE RISK. When able to forge a customer’s signature on insurance applications, a broker’s job can seem as easy as “dialing for dollars.” However, that ability when employed by a dishonest broker can be an excuse or opportunity to generate erroneous commissions, especially when customers had not authorized the transactions.
Customers should accept and embrace the obligation to sign insurance and variable annuity applications. Doing so is required for the protection of customers and brokers alike.
[For further details, click on … FINRA Case #2017055426201.]