Fla. CFO Revokes Tampa Bay Agent’s License

June 26, 2007

Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink issued an order revoking the license of a Tampa Bay-area insurance agent for exploiting seniors in the sale of annuities.

The Department of Financial Services accused Sharon Razdar, 49, of misleading and deceptive practices in the sale of annuities. She and her husband Bijan Razdar owned and operated American Independent Financial Services, located at 10633 U.S. Highway 19 in Port Richey.

An investigation by the Department of Financial Services determined the Razdars targeted elderly Florida consumers through radio advertisements and seminars, with the goal of soliciting seniors to purchase annuity contracts that would earn the couple high-dollar commissions. Bijan Razdar’s license was revoked last year.

“It is reprehensible that anyone would take advantage of any Floridian, most especially a senior citizen who is looking for help with investing hard-earned money,” said Sink. “I am relieved that these two are out of the insurance business in Florida, and I commend everyone in the department who helped make this happen.”

The Razdars’ radio advertisements were designed to sound like financial talk shows offering financial advice to listeners. The Razdars used their radio advertisements to attempt to induce investors into surrendering in-force life insurance and annuity products or other investments for the purpose of purchasing equity indexed fixed annuities, which may have been unsuitable and inappropriate for listeners’ investment objectives and financial needs.

Bijan Razdar continued to sell annuities to elderly consumers even after having his license revoked and was arrested and pleaded guilty to charges that he continued to transact without a license, now a felony in Florida.

While investors may be lured into the purchase of an equity indexed annuity believing that they will realize returns similar to that of an index, such at the S&P 500, such a belief may not be reasonable. Equity indexed annuities can be complex, long-term investments carrying high surrender charges, and investors should consider getting advice from more than one financial professional prior to investing in such products.

Source: Florida Department of Financial Services

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