Tip for Terry — Get a Lawyer: The SEC announced charges against Terry's Tips, Inc., a Vermont-based company, and Terry Allen, of Ferrisburg, Vt., on July 1, for violations related to the operation of “auto trading” programs. The programs enable online investment newsletter subscribers to open accounts for which an online advisor directs all trades. The SEC charges that Terry's Tips and Allen published performance projections of 100 percent annualized returns for those who followed Allen's trading strategies. Meanwhile, portfolios following Allen's suggestions were experiencing substantial losses, the SEC says.
More Annuity Naughtiness — The NASD fined Hornor Townsend & Kent of Horsham, Pa., $325,000 for sales contests that favored proprietary variable annuity products. Between 2001 and 2003, HTK conducted numerous national and branch office contests promoting the sale of VAs from Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, HTK's parent company. NASD rules require sales contests for a product line to cover all products the firm offers within that line. In settling the matter, the firm agreed to prohibit any sales contests involving those products for the next three years.