Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jason Kander today announced he has recovered $83,528 that was taken from two Missouri seniors. The settlement stems from a previous action taken by Kander’s office against an insurance agent in Cape Girardeau.
The consent order states the couple had expressed concern over their ability to afford premium payments on insurance policies, but Harry Ward and Manzur Mazumder—both former agents of Bankers Life and Casualty Company—convinced the couple to set up a brokerage account at ProEquities, Inc. where Ward would use an investment strategy in covered calls to generate enough income to cover the premium payments on the policies.
"Before investing your hard-earned savings, make sure you understand the costs and penalties on transactions made in your account," Kander said. "If an investment or an investment strategy sounds too good to be true, then it probably is."
The order alleges ProEquities failed to reasonably supervise Harry Ward, who sold universal insurance policies issued by Bankers Life to the elderly Cape Girardeau couple.
Ward effected transactions using the unsuitable covered call strategy with the couple’s ProEquities brokerage account. The trades made in the account resulted in losses and failed to generate the income necessary to pay the policy premiums.
As a result of the investigation, ProEquities reviewed its policies, procedures and controls, provided additional training to its agents on options trading, enhanced its monitoring of the sale of covered calls, implemented additional procedures to supervise investment strategies, and added components to its annual compliance training to protect elderly clients.
ProEquities, Inc. agreed to pay $83,528 in restitution and interest to the Missouri residents, in addition to $40,000 in fines and $5,000 to cover the costs of the investigation.
In May 2015, Kander’s office reached a settlement with Bankers Life for more than $57,000 after taking action against Mazumder.
Missourians are encouraged to call Kander’s office before making an investment decision at 1-800-721- 7996 and visit www.MissouriSafeSavings.com for more information.
Visit www.sos.mo.gov to learn more about the Office of the Missouri Secretary of State.