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Axa Rep Threatens 403(b) Advocate

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My Two Cents:

 

I've been threatened by phone, message boards, and e-mail in the past with both legal and physical harm. Having said that, most of the industry doesn't have the time or the brainpower to waste their time on threats and I don't fear for my life. There are some crazies out there and some stupid people, but overall most of them aren't going to use threats.

 

I do feel it is rather petty to say that a threat to this teacher didn't occur, it certainly did. It was most likely an empty threat as it appears AXA supervisors and legal didn't know about it (the compliance department must be going crazy over that e-mail). Reps say stuff to educators all the time to try to disuade them from telling the truth, it is a sad reflection on them and one more nail in the coffin on the current way that 403(b) industry is run.

 

ScottyD

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Finally after hearing TR's tirad about the facts and both sides of the story I continue to educate myself and colleagues regarding 403b options.

 

 

Cygnus,

 

You are part of a fledgling movement of folks who want to help colleagues take care of their own financial futures. Because of this, you, too, may find agents who are hostile, and perhaps even threatening to you.

TR, of course, will see no harm in this because, after all, who can really be absolutely, positively, 100% certain beyond any doubt at all that local agents may be threatening you?

 

 

Of course, you can't. So it would be safe to assume that all advisers will threaten you (since we know that's what they teach in advisor school). Understand that advisors generally carry an assortment of weapons (subpoeanas, knives, guns, etc.) and ARE NOT afraid to use them if they sense that a prospect might say no.

 

 

Dan,

 

This post from TR pretty much confirms your suspicions.

 

Don't feed this troll.

 

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I totally believe the Wayne incident is true. I had it happen to me years ago. I was transfering my money

out from an annuity using the 93-24 transfer I learned about here.

 

The "advisor" called me several times telling me that what I was doing was illegal. He went on to brag about the returns I was getting with his funds and about the surrender charges I would inccur.

 

I had to call him at least 5 times on different occassions to get him to put the paperwork through on his end.

 

It took 6 months to get this joker to act. I had to call the main office. If I remember correctly Vanguard helped me get this done when I couldn't get them to transfer the paperwork

 

Not exactly a threat but very poor professional behavior and proof he was not looking after my interests.

 

I have no doubt this is happening across the country although I would like to think not all Advisors would be

bad

 

Its a dirty little business.

 

 

 

 

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Guest Sierra

TR,

 

One could infer from your sarcasm that you do not believe threats are made by your cohorts. In fact, threats are made.

 

However, contrary to your assertion, they are not normally made regarding the gain or loss of one client. They are made when someone tries to change the way your business is conducted. Thus, when a teacher holds meetings that teach others how to manage their own 403bs, the existing agents fear that they will lose their commission annuity. Instead of responding with a legitimate argument justifying the commission based products, they attempt to strike the troublemaker. At least this has been my personal experience.

 

 

They apparently BELIEVE that, contrary to what their marketing/sales department PREACHES to them, they DO NOT provide added value. So if they do not provide added value they must admit that they are being paid a commission to DISTRIBUTE product and that the customer can ACQUIRE the same product without paying a commission by buying from a DIRECT DISTRIBUTOR, i.e., a no-load family of funds. So rather than attempting to prove that they add value, when they know they do not, they simply tell their customer base that "your fellow colleague/teacher might be in violation of the rules and regs of the SEC for advising you to go the no-load route"

 

Peace and hope,

Joel L. Frank

Edited by Sierra

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I am new to the Message Boards, although already an avid contributor, so I never knew all the posting that was done about my situation in NJ. I am the teacher who was "threatened" by the AXA rep while trying to get Vanguard in my district. (You can find the article about it in the 403bwise "Must Reads.") As I read through the posts, I noticed that there was a lot of discussion about what exactly was said in the e-mails, so I thought maybe some of you would still be interested in reading them.

 

There were two e-mails and they are posted below. Better late than never I guess.

 

 

June 8, 2006

 

Bruce

 

I could not catch up with you in school the other day, though I wanted to share something you should be aware of. I received a call last week by one of the managing directors of my group who worked in Wayne years ago and still has a number of clients there. I was asked about a letter he received from a client. Long story short- it was apparently your letter to teachers and colleagues. In his opinion, this is a violation of SEC regulations. I am not sending this to scare you but more so to let you know what is going on and so you don't think that I stirred up anything. Reality is you may get a letter from our legal dept. I did ask about what specific violations, He rattled off a couple, the one that stuck out to me was giving advice on products you have no license or credential to advise the public on.

 

 

June 9, 2006

 

Bruce,

 

I have no intention nor do I control any legal action. That is first and foremost. Hear is the deal, Registered reps. like myself go through a slew of scrutinizing licensing and credentialing via the SEC and internal compliance. Everything is scrutinized by the LIC/Compliance dept and reported to legal. They live for this. Most RRs. have the series 6, 63, 65, & 7 plus the NJ Life & health. We also keep up on the Continuing Education classes every 4 yrs. Companies like mine spend many millions of dollars a year making sure our employees are above board from the flyers and the presentation material allowed to having the correct lic. etc... This all comes form our legal Dept. So to say a cease and desist order can't be sent out is not far from ordinary- that is what these depts. do. Now does a Giant corporation really care what a teacher does in Wayne NJ probably not, nor would any corp. listen to me one of ten thousand employees -probably not. BUT the Director who brought this to my attention does have the pull. And Wayne was a district he used to work in the 80's - he has a vested interest. I was questioned, rather contentiously I might add, on why I did not bring this to his attention.

 

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Hey Bruce,

 

Good to hear from you. Thanks for the background. Here's the story so folks can access from here. Question: did anything happen after this story was published/released? Where do things stand in regard to available vendors? How is/has your employer reacted to new regs? Thanks.

 

Dan Otter

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In other words Bruce, AXA was attempting to limit your freedom of speech. You don't need a license to voice your opinion about products - only to sell products. They were clearly trying to intimidate you and hoped that you wouldn't understand that there laws and regulations don't apply to you.

 

Yet, AXA was still chosen by the Florida IBC as a "model" company. Perhaps a model of intimidation.

 

ScottyD

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I followed the link to the article and found this nice little quotation from the AXA spokeswoman regarding Bruce:

 

"Since Mr. McNutt is not a qualified representative of AXA Advisors, we do not feel he should attest to represent our products.''

 

Oooh, I just love that one. In other words, Bruce, just shut up. Don't offer any opinions about AXA. Just be a meek, little teacher and don't make any waves.

 

Memo to AXA: we are protected by the 1st Amendment, and while it does not give us complete freedom of expression, it sure as @#$% gives us the right to voice an opinion about a company.

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I just had Dan pull my thread called a Salesrep classic last week, because the sales rep /part time teacher figured out who I was. I almost abandoned using my real name TONY on this site but then decided that I should not give in to this corrupt industry. We had a few words but everything has calmed down now.

 

The good knews is thanks to me e-mailing everyone in my high school about this site , people must be reading it!!

 

 

Tony

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So here is the update on my district.

 

We finally did get Vanguard in and we are up to about 80 of the 850 teachers in the district with Vanguard. That's great, but there are still about 350 or so with AXA, Met Life, Valic etc. I continue to offer a presentation once a year in my district on the differences between a 403(b) and a 403(b)(7) and about 20 people typically attend.

 

My "fame", and I use that term loosely, has given me the opportunity to speak at the county level regarding 403(b)'s and later in May '08 I have been asked to present at the state level. I have also been appointed the Union Representative to assist the Board in restructuring our 403(b) Plan to meet the new regs.

 

I only got into this because I was tired of paying high fees myself but it has grown to where I am extremely proud to say that because of me, many of my fellow teachers will will have thousands more at retirement and collectively, teachers will be retiring with millions more at retirement. I have received e-mails from people all over the country, but especially New Jersey, asking me for advice in getting new 403(b) choices because they have seen the article on 403bwise and the trickle down effect of what I have accomplished makes me extremely proud as well.

 

I'm usually not one to "toot my own horn," but I toot it to let others know that you can make a difference, and you will feel good about it when you do.

 

 

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Bruce,

 

It is outrageous that someone other than a salesman should actually be providing information to teachers. How can you live with yourself?! Teachers need unbiased education that only professional "advisers" can provide. This is a sad day for teachers in America.

 

:)

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Bruce,

 

It is outrageous that someone other than a salesman should actually be providing information to teachers. How can you live with yourself?! Teachers need unbiased education that only professional "advisers" can provide. This is a sad day for teachers in America.

 

:)

 

 

apteacher,

 

Your sarcasm is greatly appreciated.

 

I received one e-mail from a teacher in Tennessee asking me for guidance in advocating for new providers. He said that his BA told him that they couldn't change providers because it was a small town and the rep was a guy that everyone went to church with and they couldn't take away his business? A truly sad day for teachers in America. I wonder if that guy drove a Beemer to church?

 

 

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