A financial services company has agreed to pay $3.3 million to resolve charges that a subsidiary let a wealthy family make late variable universal life trades.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission says it has accepted settlement offers from General American Life Insurance Company, St. Louis, a unit of MetLife Inc., New York, and William Thater, a former registered representative who once was the senior vice president in charge of selling General American private placement VUL products.
A New York family paid $20 million for a private placement VUL policy from General America.
Thater approved a written agreement that permitted the family to submit trades up until 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time, while General American required all other users of the underlying mutual funds to submit, confirm and cancel trades before 4 p.m. Eastern Time, SEC officials allege.
Thater and General American offered late-trading privileges to no other fund investors, and the 79 late trades completed from February 2002 to November 2002 diluted the value of the underlying funds by about $3.3 million, officials allege.
After General American compliance personnel noticed the late-trading, Thater shifted to letting the New York family “confirm or cancel” trades after 4 p.m., officials allege.
In addition to the $3.3 million civil penalty that General American has agreed to pay, the settlement agreements call for Thater to pay $163,137 in disgorgement, prejudgment interest and civil penalties, officials say.
Thater will have the right to reapply for permission to associate with brokers, dealers and investment advisors after 3 years.
MetLife and Thater have neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings.
“MetLife is pleased to put this matter behind us,” the company says in a statement.
Thater was not available for comment.