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UBS Sues Annuities Provider, Claiming Deceptive Practices in Commission Promises

By Miriam Rozen December 18, 2018

Wirehouse UBS has joined a lengthening queue of plaintiffs filing lawsuits against Ohio National Financial Services for its decision to terminate variable annuities selling agreements with broker-dealers and to stop paying trailing commissions.

On Dec. 13, UBS filed its complaint in federal court in New Jersey, claiming Ohio National “threatened to deprive UBS and its financial advisors of their bargained-for compensation” for selling and servicing variable annuity products.

Previously, based on similar allegations, Veritas Independent Partners, a Conway, Ark.-based broker-dealer, filed a lawsuit, as did an LPL Financial broker who sought to represent a class of plaintiffs against Ohio National.

An Ohio National spokesperson previously declined to comment on the litigation and did not respond to a comment for this article.

In its lawsuit, UBS alleges Ohio National engaged in “deceptive practices” under New Jersey law and breached existing selling agreements. The UBS complaint notes that three sets of broker-dealers and registered representatives have filed similar suits against Ohio National.

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UBS asks the court to award damages for “the economic injury and the harm that UBS will suffer to its reputation and goodwill” if Ohio National is not barred by a court injunction from proceeding with its plans.

UBS is represented by lawyers in the New York office of Katten Muchin Rosenman.

A UBS spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.