updated 9/14/2010 12:46:18 PM ET 2010-09-14T16:46:18

HOUSTON, Sept. 14, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Law Firm of Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LLP ( www.sseklaw.com ) continues to investigate claims for investors who were improperly sold annuities or other insurance products. Over the past few years, thousands of consumers have lost money through investments into variable annuities. Many of these insurance products issued by household names such as AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co., Nationwide Life Insurance Co., AIG SunAmerica Life Assurance Co., and Variable Annuity Life Insurance Co.

Variable annuities are essentially mutual funds with a life insurance "wrapper." The policyholder of the annuity allocates funds into different investment sub-accounts offered by the annuity company. These sub-accounts correspond with a particular fund discipline such as growth equity, international equity or corporate bond. The funds placed in these sub-accounts are entered into a pool of assets belonging to the annuity company. This money is used to buy the designated mutual funds' shares. Rather than being given ownership of the mutual funds, policyholders are given sub-account accumulation units that are in proportion to the amount of money they've placed in the sub-account.

Sometimes brokers improperly explain or misrepresent the characteristics of a variable annuity to a client. It is also not uncommon for a broker to make unsuitably over-aggressive recommendations for the sub-accounts. If you feel you were the victim of negligent or fraudulent misrepresentations in the sale of variable annuities, we would like to hear from you.

Shepherd Smith Edwards & Kantas LLP has a team of attorneys, consultants and others with more than 100 years of combined experience in the securities industry and in securities law. Since 1990, we have represented thousands of investors nationwide to recover losses.  We have represented clients in Federal and state courts and in arbitration through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the New York Stock Exchange Inc. (NYSE), the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and in private arbitration actions. Collectively, we have represented clients in more than 1,000 matters in negotiation, mediation, arbitration and litigation. 

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