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A Maserati for Selling Annuities

Don McDonald

All you need to do is sell $7.5 million worth of annuities in 2014, and you will be the envy of your neighbors as you tear down the street in your shiny new Maserati (let's hope it's just the base Ghibli model at $65,000 - yes, I looked it up). That's in addition to commissions of up to 9% (on $7.5M that's $675K - not bad pay for a slightly dishonest year's work) on the indexed annuities being pushed.

So, who's doing the pushing? It's not an insurance company, nor is it a brokerage firm. No, the sale of these annuities is being encouraged a firm that claims to merely train people to show retirees a "...strategy that is rattling retirement funding," Table Bay Financial Network. You can tell the program is all about helping people retire more comfortably by a quote used on their website from people they claim are advisors, "I have to admit, at first I thought I didn’t need to talk to my clients about this strategy. I received over $300,000 in commissions in one month. Now I talk to all of my clients about it.” I'm sure their emphasis is  training CPA's and advisors to do what's best for their clients (wink, wink).

If you doubt, their motivation all, you need to do is follow the money. How does Table Bay get compensated. As I said, it is not a broker-dealer, insurance company, or even a financial product distributor. That must mean they charge advisors a fee for their training, right? No, instead they take a percentage of the fees on the products their trainees sell. It must be a pretty impressive percentage if they can afford to give away Maseratis, Range Rovers, and BMWs.

Read more in Jason Zweig's Intelligent Investor column from the Wall Street Journal (no pay wall currently)