MetLife Faces Possible 529 Plan Charges

November 9, 2005 ( - MetLife Inc. said the NASD has notified MetLife Securities Inc. of its preliminary determination to charge the unit with failure to enforce written supervisory procedures regarding the sale of 529 plans, and disclosures related to the sales.

Reuters reports that NASD is examining 529 sales practices at 20 securities firms, and is in the late stages of investigating as many as 10.   In October, NASD ordered Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. to pay a fine of $500,000 for failing to adequately supervise the firm’s sales of 529 plans (See  NASD Fines Ameriprise Regarding 529 Plan Sales ).

Separately, Reuters reports that, in its quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), MetLife said the US Attorney for the Southern District of California has asked for documents concerning an insurance broker, Universal Life Resources.  

MetLife has already received subpoenas from Massachusetts and Connecticut Attorneys General, as well as from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, about the company’s business bids and quotes submitted to potential customers.   The company told Spitzer’s office that, based upon an internal review, it was not aware of any instance in which it had provided a “fictitious” or “inflated” quote (See  MetLife Reveals MA Information Demand on Bay State Insurance Quotes ).

The company said it is continuing to cooperate fully with investigators and to conduct an internal review of its commission payment practices.