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Iowa Commissioner Reprimands Ameritas

Targeted News Service

DES MOINES, Iowa, May 5 -- The Iowa Department of Commerce's Insurance Division issued the following news release:

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart today announced that he has reprimanded the licenses of Ameritas Investment Corporation and Ricky Small, its former supervisor, both of Lincoln, NE. Commissioner Gerhart and his office regulate both the business of insurance and the sale of securities in Iowa.

Ameritas Investment Corporation and Ricky Small were alleged in the consent order signed today to have failed to reasonably supervise former securities agent, James Roberts, of Omaha, NE.Ameritas Investment Corporation was also alleged to have sold unsuitable non-exchange traded limited partnership investments to an Iowa investor.

On December 23, 2013, Roberts, who no longer had a securities agent license, consented to the revocation of his insurance producer license based on multiple violations, including allegations that he made investment recommendations that were not suitable for the needs of the customer. Roberts' broker-dealer, Ameritas Investment Corp. returned $186,150 to an elderly investor in western Iowa as a result of the Iowa Insurance Division (IID) investigation into Roberts' conduct.

While Ameritas and Small neither admit to nor deny the allegations made by the Division, both have consented to the terms of the order, which included a reprimand of their broker-dealer's license of Ameritas and its payment of a $10,000 civil penalty. A reprimand of the securities agent license issued to Small was part of the order, as well. The Insurance Division noted and took into consideration in its decision regarding the penalty that the company refunded the investment to the investor.

"We expect agents selling investments in Iowa to be in compliance with Iowa law," said Gerhart, "but it doesn't stop there. We will hold companies accountable when reasonable supervision of sales activities have not occurred, especially when those failures result in harm to investors."

This consent order concludes the Division's inquiry into all matters regarding Roberts, Small and Ameritas. No further action shall be taken in this regard.

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