Massachusetts' top financial regulator on
Thursday charged a Boston-based investment adviser and his
employer, LPL Financial LLC, with fraudulently selling
annuities to retirees.
Roger Zullo defrauded his clients, lied to his 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. It charged LPL Financial LLC with having failed to
properly supervise him.
Zullo, who works near the city's financial district and
whose website says that he will help clients develop "integrated
wealth and income management strategies," did not immediately
respond to a request for comment. His lawyer, David Freniere,
also did not immediately respond to a request for comment. LPL
did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In a civil complaint, Secretary of the Commonwealth William
Galvin charged that Zullo earned $1.8 million in variable
annuity commissions over the course of three years, making
nearly all of the money by selling the same annuity product, the
Polaris Platinum III (B shares).
The complaint said Zullo had a pattern of switching clients,
including many nurses and other healthcare professionals, out of
their annuities every six or seven years and earning commissions
"over and over again from the same clients." He met one client
at a subway station near his office in early 2015 to sign the
paperwork to switch her into Polaris Plantinum annuity, the
While some at LPL were aware of Zullo's sales habits, the
company failed to act appropriately the state said, noting that
"Zullo 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's office has long sought to crack down on financial
advisers who may be taking advantage of elderly clients.
In this case, the state is seeking to revoke Zullo's
registrations in the state and have the him and LPL return all
profit and other payments they received from the alleged