My Take on the Michael Starego Case and the Pitfalls of Variable Annuities

Picture this: you’ve put a substantial amount of your savings into what appeared to be a solid investment—variable annuities. But then, the numbers don’t add up. Your returns are nowhere near what your broker promised. Now, you’re left with more questions than answers. This is precisely what’s happened with Michael Starego, a broker with Equitable Advisors, and his clients.

I took a look at Michael Starego’s BrokerCheck record, which, as of February 2024, shows a client dispute centring on the alleged misstatement regarding a variable annuity policy. Initiated in October 2023, the complaint was denied, but this doesn’t necessarily close the book on the issue. It’s crucial for clients to understand that a denial doesn’t spell the end—if anything, it could be the start of your journey toward seeking restitution, like through FINRA arbitration.

The Essentials of FINRA Rule 2330 and Variable Annuities

There’s an essential rule all investors should know: FINRA Rule 2330. It requires brokers to ensure their suggestions, like opting for a deferred variable annuity, are in the client’s best financial interests and match their risk tolerance.

Now, you might wonder, “What are variable annuities?”

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Demystifying Variable Annuities

Let me be frank: variable annuities are not simple. They meld an insurance policy with an investment option—a mix that could sound great until you consider the hefty fees, surrender charges, and tax issues that often outweigh the potential upsides. Plus, the riskiness of this type of investment can make it a poor match for many of you.

Peeling Back the Layers: Who Is Michael Starego?

Michael Starego has an impressive track record, having passed key exams such as the Series 63, SIE, and Series 7, and is registered to operate in five states. However, impressive credentials don’t make one immune to missteps. If you’ve worked with Michael Starego and something feels wrong, listen to that feeling.

It’s so important to monitor your investments and be alert for any red flags. There’s a poignant quote by Warren Buffett: “It’s only when the tide goes out that you learn who’s been swimming naked.” Don’t let a mistake or misconduct by your broker catch you off guard—start your path to recovering what’s yours. No issue is too trivial, and each voice is critical in protecting your financial well-being. If you find yourself in a situation like the one involving Michael Starego, remember that you’re not alone, and there are options for you to pursue justice for your losses.

Before we conclude, here’s a fact that might alarm you: over 7% of financial advisors have been involved in at least one instance of misconduct. It’s a stark reminder to check the credentials and the history of your advisors. You can easily do a background check on any financial advisor by looking up their FINRA CRD number.

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on this matter. I’m Emily Carter, a financial analyst and writer, and my goal is to break down complex financial situations into understandable insights. My hope is that this information empowers you to take control of your investments with confidence and clarity. Remember, it’s your future at stake, so stay informed and be proactive at every step of your financial journey.

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