* Couple alleges broker improperly sold annuities, stocks
* Raymond James “disappointed” by panel’s ruling (Adds byline, comment from Tylers’ attorney, details on case)
By Joe Rauch
CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 19 (Reuters) - Raymond James Financial Inc (RJF.N) must pay a Texas man and his wife’s estate $1.5 million to resolve allegations the company improperly sold annuities to the couple, according to a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel filing.
In May 2010, Hurshel and Mildred Tyler, now deceased, claimed a broker for the St. Petersburg, Florida-based company recommended they purchase various deferred variable annuities and individual stocks such as JDS Uniphase Corp JDSU.O, Infospace Inc INSP.O and Alcatel Lucent SA ALUA.PA, according to a FINRA dispute resolution agreement issued on May 10.
The broker moved the Tylers’ investment portfolio of $3.8 million from municipal bond investments into annuities, said Tracy Stoneman, a Westcliffe, Colorado and Dallas-based securities attorney who represents investors.
That broker then moved to LPL Financial Corp in 2006. LPL Financial settled with the Tylers before the arbitration was concluded.
Raymond James and LPL Financial denied the allegations and the Tylers’ requested $2.3 million in compensatory and actual damages, according to the filing.
“For five years, the Tyler trusted their broker and the panel found they had a right to do so,” said Stoneman.
In a statement to Reuters, Raymond James spokeswoman Anthea Penrose said the company was disappointed by the award and was reviewing all available options.
The couple, voluntarily followed the financial adviser to LPL Financial and had an unrealized profit of $800,000 on the investments before market conditions changed, Penrose said. (Reporting by Joe Rauch; editing by Bernard Orr and Andre Grenon)