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Eric Burton of Cetera Advisors Suspended Over Falsified Variable Annuity Disclosures

Jul 20, 2021 AWC

Eric Burton (CRD #: 3113849), a broker registered with Cetera Advisors in Orland Park, Illinois, has been suspended by FINRA following allegations that he falsified documents related to variable annuity recommendations. These allegations appeared on his BrokerCheck record as of July 13, 2021. Details of FINRA’s allegations are provided below.

On August 11, 2021, Eric Burton consented to withdraw his broker registration in Maryland. This followed allegations that he falsified documents related to 22 variable annuity replacement forms. 

On June 22, 2021, Eric Burton of Cetera Advisors entered into an Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent agreement (AWC) with FINRA in which he consented to the findings that he falsified documents related to variable annuities while he was registered with LPL Financial. Variable annuities are complex contracts and often do not work in the investor’s best interest.

According to LPL Financials’ rules, brokers who recommend the exchange of a variable annuity must sign a replacement disclosure. This disclosure should describe the features of the variable annuity being replaced, including any death benefits. The disclosure must also describe the broker’s basis for recommending the exchange. Brokers are required to submit this disclosure prior to the exchange.

According to the AWC, Eric Burton falsified 22 variable annuity replacement disclosure forms. On each form, Burton allegedly falsely stated that gaining a stepped-up death benefit was one of the reasons the exchange would benefit the investor. But FINRA alleges that Burton removed the stepped-up death benefit from his recommendation immediately before he recommended each of the 22 exchanges.

As part of the terms of the AWC, Burton consented to a three-month suspension and a $5,000 fine. You can read a copy of the AWC here.

Older Investor Disputes Involving Annuities

On March 21, 2021, an investor alleged that she had been unaware of the existence of a variable annuity in her securities portfolio. She further alleges that the variable annuity Eric Burton selected was not suitable. The dispute settled for $17,553.18.

On November 23, 2015, an investor alleged that Eric Burton did not fully disclose that she was purchasing an annuity product. Furthermore, she allegedly lost out on market performance during the time it took to reverse the product. The investor sought more than $10,000 but the dispute was denied.

Firms can deny disputes before FINRA arbitration. “Denials” simply mean that the firm denies their representative engaged in misconduct. They do not indicate that FINRA has reviewed the dispute. Investors can still recover their losses following a denial.

Eric Burton Background Information

Burton has passed the following exams:

  • Series 66 Uniform Combined State Law Examination
  • Series 63 Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination
  • Securities Industry Essentials Examination
  • Series 7 General Securities Representative Examination

He is a registered broker in 31 states and a registered investment adviser in Illinois and Texas.

Eric Burton has worked in the securities industry for 22 years. During that time, he has worked for the following firms:

  • Cetera Advisors (CRD #: 10299)
  • Opus Wealth Management Group (CRD #: 176525)
  • LPL Financial (CRD #: 6413)
  • FSC Securities Corporations (CRD #: 7461)
  • Advice Network Consultants (CRD #: 147989)
  • The O.N. Equity Sales Company (CRD #: 2936)
  • Strategic Assets (CRD #: 37590)

Kurta Law Can Help

If you worked with Eric Burton and you have concerns about variable annuities, contact Kurta Law today. Call 212-658-1502 or email jkurta@kurtalawfirm.com.