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Report: #4700

Complaint Review: World Marketing Alliance(WMA Securities) - Duluth Georgia

  • Submitted: Sat, March 17, 2001
  • Updated: Sat, March 06, 2004
  • Reported By: Tempe Arizona
  • World Marketing Alliance(WMA Securities)
    11315 Johns Creek Parkway
    Duluth, Georgia

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Consumer Advisory:

1. Read the May 2000 Money magazine expose of the WMA by Pat Regnier and Amy Feldman.
0,4015,9595,00.html. Pat

Regnier is a mutual-funds expert and former Morningstar analyst.
Also go to the NASD web-site and run an online search to obtain a report on the WMA's CRD record
( The WMA's CRD
number is 32625. Note that the WMA illegally withheld nearly
900 complaints regarding misrepresentations of its VUL insurance product(see

2. Beware of High Income Claims:
WMA agents have been known to falsely claim high incomes:
A six-figure income is a common claim. If any WMA agent makes a claim about earning a high income through the WMA(or that it is his only source of income), insist upon receiving a personal photocopy of his federal income tax return. Take the return and submit it, without explanation, to: The Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division


If the information provided by the agent is legitimate, he will have nothing to fear whatsoever. If he fails to provide this proof, do not do business with him.

The WMA should furnish you with information regarding likely annual income, and termination rates(with terminations by category) consistent with federal and state franchise laws. See CFR 436
6_00.html), and your own state franchise laws.

3. Check Previous Employment Claims:
If any WMA agent claims to have left a lucrative job in the finance(or any other) industry, go to to check his 10-year resume on file with the NASD. The CRD number for the WMA is 32625. Even
this information may be erroneous, as it is the responsibility of the WMA, not the NASD, to verify the employment claims. To further verify the information, obtain phone listings for the companies on the resume and call them before writing anyone a check or signing a contract. If you find no phone listings for any of the firms, certainly don't do business with the agent. WMA agents have also been known to (770)453-9300 themselves as
former engineers. Agents have also been known to misrepresent their educational backgrounds in order to establish credibility. If someone makes his educational background an issue by mentioning it, insist upon seeing the diploma. Write down the degree, name, and date of graduation for possible future reference.

4. Illegal Recruiting/Pyramid Scheme:
If a WMA agent emphasizes recruiting, rather than sales of a product(VULs, e.g.), then you are being asked to join an illegal pyramid scheme(see:, paragraph 4).
If, as a recruit, you are pressured into buying a product yourself, or are asked to take inordinately expensive training classes through the WMA(an investment in training), then the agent is engaging in inventory loading, and you are being asked to join an illegal pyramid scheme. See the new Pyramid Scheme Alert web-site and follow the links(
In either instance, report this immediately to the Federal Trade
Commission(FTC) at Making payments until the day you are ultimately nailed shut into your coffin and hurled into a pit, or MRT insurance contained within the VUL, certainly constitute loading.

A former web-site for the WMA cited data from the 1999 WMA annual report, which indicated that the organization had recruited 272,000+ members and 8,400 licensed employees to date. As a securities license is necessary in order to make sales of their VUL and variable-annuity products, the 263,600+ members are clear losers as they at least pay a $100-$200 processing fee upon signing the MLM distributorship contract(see the California Department Corporations 1998 Desist & Refrain Order forbidding
the WMA from any additional sales of its MLM franchises in California).

Contact the San Francisco office of the Department for details through
Additionally a portion of the 8,400 licensed agents will also be net losers: these are clear pyramid-scheme numbers.

For claims about multi-level-marketing opportunities in general, see
Also go to and browse the collection of cases brought against m-l-m firms for deception and fraud. Note that the presidents of these companies have been found to have lied about their personal wealth, top agents' incomes, the products, you name it. For information as to how m-l-m firms operate as cults, see the information about Amway, for example at WMA founder Hubert Humphrey spent his formative years in Amway.

5. WRL VUL Insurance Misrepresentations:
Submit any sales illustrations to
Actuary James Hunt of the Consumer Federation of America will evaluate the truth of the claims for a nominal fee of $45. Mr. Hunt is also former Insurance Commissioner of
Vermont. The CFA also has links to publications and press releases, some of which are available for download as pdf files:

The Western Reserve Life VUL(variable universal life insurance) policy is heavily promoted by the WMA because it provides high commissions and fees. Beware of any claims indicating that this is a better use of your money than buying term life insurance and investing the difference in mutual funds placed in an IRA. The buy term and invest the difference(BTID) strategy is precisely what WMA founder Hubert Humphrey(CRD No. 857054)
advocated to customers when he was Vice President at A.L. Williams(see:
t/alkelly.htm, paragraph

7). Now he advocates the exact opposite. Your challenge as a consumer is determining in which of the 2 instances he was actually telling the truth.

Numerous founders and early members of the WMA pyramid are former A.L. Williams(now Primerica) agents, and some, including Humphrey still report concurrent ALW/Primerica employment, indicating that they ultimately derive income from sets of customers(not necessarily mutually exclusive)who receive precisely the opposite insurance/financial advice. This is
clearly unethical, if not illegal.
To date, I have been able to obtain the CRD records of 25 of the 27 WMA employees who were featured speakers at the WMA 2000 Millennium Convention. They were listed on the WMA web-site
( directly under the heading All-century Team All-Stars Why I a succeeding in WMA.

(a) The mean reported time of employment with the WMA was 7.29 years(note that starting dates with Alexander, Inc. were used for 4 employees - according to Money, Alexander, Inc. is the name of the pyramid Humphrey brought with him from Primerica).

(b) Sixty percent of these speakers reported having worked for A.L. Williams or Primerica: note that the employment need not fall within the scope of the 10-year NASD reporting requirement(the WMA was formed in 1991).

(c) If one includes work at Intersecurities(which according to the 1998 WRL Series Fund prospectus, is the Fund distributor), the number increases to 80%(I will provide a list of such members upon request). A number of individuals worked 1-2 years at Intersecurities in the interim between Primerica and WMA employment.

(d) At least 20% of the speakers have been reported for some sort of impropriety such as VUL misrepresentation.
(e) At least one had declared bankruptcy after joining the WMA.

According to Money(May 2000), the average annual VUL premium for policies sold through the WMA is $1,850. This is lower than the maximum annual contribution to an IRA account(traditional or Roth). Since Money reported that the WMA claims to specifically target persons who do not already have investment accounts, these individuals likely could have placed the total premium amount within a tax-protected IRA.

Look at the example chosen by the Western Reserve Life(WRL) actuaries to illustrate the benefits of the WRL Series Fund(1998 Prospectus). A 35-year-old male nonsmoker paying a $2,000 annual premium receives a death benefit of $165,000. At age 65(retirement), the cash value in the account(assuming the maximum allowable gross interest rate of 12% for such projections) would be $287,206(WRL Series Fund Prospectus, page 45). One reason is that the subaccount-mortality and portfolio-operating fees
reduce the interest rate 1.85% the first 15 years, and 1.70% the last 16(if you even believe their claim that the fee might be reduced).

Even if you purchased the same expensive insurance, simply investing in the mutual funds directly without the WRL's pickpocket interest fees would yield a cash value of $430,775. Using a price quoted for the same 35-year-old non-smoker category from Zurich Direct (January 1999), and adjusting the price downward to reflect the $165,000 death-benefit coverage, buying term and investing the difference directly into the same
mutual funds would yield a 30-year cash value of $505,198.

The WRL actuaries chose to illustrate Option A only. In Option A, if you die, your heirs receive either the death benefit or the cash value, but not both(whichever is greater). The cash value is multiplied by a limitati on percentage(page 15 of the Prospectus). Even if you did receive both, imagine you died at age 65. The total of the WRL $165,000 death benefit + the WRL cash value of $287,206 = 452,206, which is less than the total
cash value of the alternative cash value of $505,198 not even including the $165,000 death benefit($505,198 + $165,000 = $670,198). Under the WRL plan, the heirs of the insured would actually receive only $338.577.

The actuaries chose not even to illustrate Option B, which allows one to receive both the death benefit plus the cash value(times the limitation percentage) because the premiums must be increased proportionally to the coverage, which will significantly lower the cash value of $287,206 calculated for Option A. John Raymond Kenney(CRD No. 267984), The WRL CEO has been fined and censured by regulators for what appears to be insider trading. WMA Securities President Barry Milton Clause(CRD No. 1100029) has been fined and censured by regulators, and was specifically cited in 3 regulatory actions taken against his former firm Primerica, where he served as Compliance Director. Clause has also been known to suffer from Truth Deficit Disorder, as witnessed by his sworn deposition testimony in the
Tuttle v. A.L. Williams case(Dallas District Courts case 83-02089-L).

If a WMA agent tells you that purchasing a VUL(or any type of cash-value insurance policy) is an investment, he is guilty of investment misrepresentation, and he should be reported to your state department of insurance(see: If he uses the
vanishing premiums misrepresentation, also report him, as this is also the subject of current litigation.

5. Insure Only against the Catastrophic:
If you have no dependents who would suffer catastrophic economic loss upon your death(e.g., inability to continue mortgage payments on your house), you probably don't even need life insurance. The WMA has been known to aggressively market policies to single persons, in good health, with no dependents, and no substantial tangible property. This is an out-and-out

If you didn't need life insurance, investing the $2,000 annually into an IRA would yield a 30-year cash value of $593,304.

6. Annuities Fraud & Misrepresentation:
If an agent sells you a tax-deferred annuity and then places it within an IRA, which is already tax-deferred, it is fraud. WRL, the WMA's major insurance partner is currently the subject of a class-action law suit for this practice(see:

Prudential and AEGON(WRL's parent company) are also named as defendants in the suit.

In addition, the suit claims that the plaintiffs were deliberately misled to believe their accounts were earning higher interest rates, because even the quarterly statements they received did not disclose the fees which reduced the gross interest rates in the mutual-fund accounts. The WMA and WRL Compliance Departments are known to defend this illegal practice. The practice occurs because, unlike mutual funds, the annuities generate large commissions and fees for WMA and WRL, at the consumers' expense. See NASD Directive 99-35 on annuity

7. Verify All Business Addresses & Telephone Numbers:
Verify business addresses with your state department of
insurance(see above). The business address listed by your agent with the department should have a listed telephone number, in the telephone directory.

The address submitted to the insurance department should agree with the business address he gives you. Do not do business with anyone who uses PO boxes or unlisted telephone numbers. Complaints about such problems, use
of multiple aliases, fraudulent sales illustrations, and agent
misrepresentation of professional/educational credentials and income have been made to the WMA Compliance Department, to no avail.

The WMA has actively recruited and compensated convicted

8. Consult an attorney before signing a contract with the WMA, and ask him specifically about any financial or legal liability you might incur regarding the persons in your downline. You will probably be surprised.

9. See the following popular business-publication web-sites for
information about Variable Universal Life(VUL) insurance:
Money Magazine Series(Follow Links)
Kiplinger Letter Series(Follow Links)

Business Week Article

Also read the article entitled Who Needs Whole Life? in the July 1998 issue of Consumer Reports
The author discusses cash-value life insurance in general. VUL is a type of cash-value insurance. I am not certain if access
to the article is free on the web-site, but many libraries
carry the publication.

Consult a Chartered Financial Analyst(
or better an actuary( for an independent
an unbiased opinion about Variable Universal Life insurance.

Actuaries must pass a series of rigorous mathematical examinations, and are the experts who actually design
insurance policies and benefit plans. The Actuarial Board
for Counseling and Discipline has links for its member

Unlike members of the WMA, they must subscribe to a code of ethics. College dropout and WMA CEO and founder Hubert Humphrey actually failed the securities supervisors exam 4 times before finally passing, which should be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

The other 2 members of A.L.Williams Buy Term and Invest the Difference group who left with him to set up the WMA include someone from the San Jose State athletic department, and former
construction worker Monte Holm. Monte Holm has been charged and fined in a WMA fraud/cover-up scandal in Texas.

10. The FTC can now hold members of multi-level-marketing firms completely responsible for the claims they make about the products of the parent firm.

"If you decide to become a distributor, remember that you're legally responsible for the claims you make about the company, its product and the business opportunities it offers. That applies even if you're simply repeating claims you read in a company brochure or advertising flyer.

When you promote the qualities of a product or service, you're obligated to present those claims truthfully and to ensure there's enough evidence to back them up. The Federal Trade Commission advises you to verify the research behind any claims about a product's performance before repeating those claims to a potential customer."
-Federal Trade Commission

If you are unable to understand what is in the actual WRL Series Fund 60-page prospectus, do not sell the product. Save all classroom materials, sales illustrations, etc., given to you by the WMA and send copies to the various aforementioned regulators. If you were misled as an agent, you may wish to contact regulators anonymously by e-mail first. Many former WMA
agents are victims who were simply targeted for VUL sales themselves, and to obtain a list of their friends for their upline sponsor to bilk before the agents themselves completed training or could earn commissions.

11. Beware: Persons in multi-level-marketing organizations like the WMA often prey upon even church congregations. You may wish to remind your minister or priest of John 2: 14-16, for example, if this becomes a problem at a church you attend. WMAS sued Richard Fischl's widow to keep from paying her off after he had husband bought phony securities from a WMA agent who had infiltrated his Bible-study group(WMA Securities Inc. v.
Ruppert, S.D. Ohio, Case No. C 1 99 492) Richard Fischl committed suicide after being swindled out of his life savings(as reported in the May 2000 issue of Money).

12. For additional information/advice: Contact radio-talk-show host and financial advisor Dave Ramsey

He has discussed the WMA and their primary product, Variable Universal Life insurance, on a number of occasions. You may
wish to contact radio-talk-show host and financial advisor
Don McDonald(
Just say the words Variable Universal Life, Multi Level Marketing, and World Marketing Alliance.

13. Any and all misrepresentations by WMA agents should additionally be reported to your state securities
commission( and state attorney

14. Here are some additional links regarding the WMA:

NASD Complaint Cover-Up

California Desist & Refrain(Cited in 10QSB SEC Filing)
4-99-013326-index.h tml

Arizona Corporations Commission

Nevada Securities Commission

Cornerstone Prodigy Group Ponzi

Additional Cornerstone Articles:

Royal Meridian(Thomas Connolly)

WMA 4 Phony Bank Investment

Ohio FLIC/Miller(Office Supervisor)

Ohio FLIC/Turner

Ohio FLIC/Eusanio

Ohio FLIC/Sander

Ohio FLIC/Rothfuss

Ohio FLIC Donald Wayne Owens

Money Magazine WMA Expose

Investment News(Nash)

SEC Investigation/Prime Assets Home Loan Fraud

CA University Credit-Card Fraud(Use "World Marketing Alliance" Name)

FLIC Ponzi Scheme

Montana Labor Ruling

I have a copy of the actual Montana action, but it's in microsoft format(I have a Mac) and I have to take it somewhere to open it up.

ChoicePoint on Massachusetts RMIB

Duluth Office Intimidation(Whipsuit)


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Updates & Rebuttals


#1 UPDATE Employee

WFG Good and bad

AUTHOR: Daniel - (U.S.A.)

To give some background of myself, I have been in the insurance and investment bussiness for about 3 years now. I hold a professional designation, and I am also currently pursuing and accounting degree. About 2 months ago, I joined WFG. I will also say that ALOT of what was mentioned in the article is true. They do focus on recruiting. However, this can be an opportunity as well. I am going to share my thoughts of both how WFG can be good and can be bad.

If you have the financial background, this company can be great. You really do have an abundance of companies to offer people. About 175 insurance companies, and about 1900 mutual funds. Also, the overhead is very minimal as if you were to start your own financial planning firm. My thoughts are you do what is best for the client all the time. I do not promote VUL except in certain situations. The former company I was with had a class action lawsuit along with many other companies just with regular UL policies. The policy is to complex for most clients and for most agents to explain. There are several tax laws involved (TAMRA, DEFRA, and TEFRA) just to name a few. I do mostly whole life or term and do alot of ROTH's. For someone that is willing to learn the business and not focus on recruiting, the financial services industry, mortgages, and banking have always been big business with alot of money to be made. People have always had money problems and with the information age and the enactment of ERISA, people need to be informed of what is going on and how to better their situation.

The bad corelates with what was aforementioned in the article. Alot of people are brought into the business and just focus on recruiting. The training on how these money concept work is few and far between. You must find someone who knows what they are doing and it probably is not your marketing director. Also, as I mentioned above, you must get appointed with as many companies if you are to provide your clients with the best products. I am in arguements all the time with my MD because she only pushes VUL's. There are some compliance issues as well. When giving a presentation, they have new agents say that they have dozens of insurance companies to choose from when many are only appointed with 2 or 3, mainly WRL, Pacific Life, American Scandia, and Zurich. This is illegal to say this as it is misrepresentation.

I personally am changing the way my office is doing business because it is my name that is out there. My team will do the right thing or I will turn them in. Again, this can be a great opportunity or a great mistake.
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#2 Consumer Comment

Network Marketing Not For All

AUTHOR: Matthew - (U.S.A.)

Who am I? I am someone who has been looking into the company now for about a month. I have not been pressured besides the normal "We really think you would enjoy this" stuff. I have met with some people for whom I do not have a lot of trust, and a few for whom I do. I have sat in meetings next to quiet, nice people and watched others with face paint whoop and holler and throw darts at an image of another group's leader. (not my style)

A lot of negative stuff has been posted here, some of which is not inherently negative, although presented in that light. Just as if someone described an all pinl house to you as if it was the worse thing in the world. Personally, I think it would be, but I'll bet there are people out there who would love it.

WMA is officially WFG (World Financial Group) and is under management of former top distributors from WMA. I cannot vouch for people from the former group or even within this, but I can say that at list one of the top management (Rich Thawling) seems to be an upstanding high-achiever with real morals and values.

I (living in Utah) have been approached by many MLM opportunities and have worked on the corporate side of more than a couple of MLM companies (NuSkin, SportNuts, Etc.). Network Marketing is not for everyone, and this WFG is certainly that, but different in a couple of ways important to me.

First, no one gets paid for signing people up. All money paid to "associates" is from brokers when customers purchase financial products. Most MLMs pay a large chunk for signing people up, and then give you pitifull commissions on future purchases.

Second, there are no monthly quotas you need to meet to stay in, like many companies that require a certain monthly volume to stay "active" or to "qualify" for commissions. Once you are an associate, your commissions are there. Of course, the higher your position (translate: more people you recruit), the higher your commission level. This is similar to many insurance company practices and has the effect of encouraging people above you to help you.

Many have complained that you must pay for everything, logo paper, pens, business cards, brochures, licensing, etc. A real company gives these things to you. Lets face it, a real company would not hire and train 95% of the people WFG trains. If you always wanted to learn about this stuff and be licensed and qualified in these areas, here is your chance to jump into it where you otherwise would not be able to.

There is a fee to join, and about $800 worth of training and licensing you must pay for, but when you have been "coded" (completed all training), they do reimburse $500 back to you. It is more expensive than if you bought the books and trained yourself, but then again, you get experienced people backing you up, and a company with many relationships with financial product providers.

The bottom line is, you don't have to recruit people, no matter what they say in their training meetings. You don't have to scam people and misrepresent yourself or your products (as some people no doubt do). You can be honest with your friends and family, learn all you wanted to know about financial planning, and genuinely help people without regard to what pays your the highest commission.

Some may say, "Sure, but you get hounded all the time with pressure to sell the high commission stuff!" To this I would say, "So what?" Enter the company, get trained, and then tell them you have no intention of recruiting anyone or actively selling the service, only helping the random person who happens along get the very best products for their own financial benefit. See how fast they leave you alone to do your own thing, and how fast they run to help when you do bring business. =)

The bottom line is that the opportunity (just like most things in life) is what you make of it. The company has a very solid foundation with its new parent Ageon, and there are plenty of retiring baby-boomers who could benefit from an honest financial evaluation and information. But, it is not for everyone.

If you have a job you love and do not have interest in financial dealings, then don't waste your time. If you wish you had extra income and have always wanted to learn more about how markets and insurance work, then maybe you should consider it.

Personally, if I join, it will be with a single expectaion: to learn about and become qualified to advise on financial markets. And I think (personally), $300 - $400 is worth the price.
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#3 0

. Nepostism abounds, discrimination, you name it, they got it!

AUTHOR: - ()

This email is a rebuttal to RipOff #4700.

It was sent by Must remain anonymous at this time at

Avoid World Marketing Alliance (WMA Securities) misrepresent Its Products, erroneous information, fraud & illegal pyramid schemes (#4700)

They filed the following rebuttal to the above Rip-Off Report:

Their email:

Their name: Must remain anonymous at this time

Their relationship to the company: Devotee


NOT! I am not a devotee, only a pion employee and I am not making a rebuttal. Believe me, the home office antics are no less better. Nepostism abounds, discrimination, you name it, they got it! And believe you me, any changes to company name will change nothing else!!

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#4 Consumer Comment


AUTHOR: Anonymous - ()

Beware...the company called World Marketing Alliance (WMA) in our area, has changed to World Financial Group (WFG).
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#5 UPDATE EX-employee responds

wma: the real truth ..This company is a pyramid scheme at it's best!

AUTHOR: bob - ()

This company is a pyramid scheme at it's best. I personally spent 6-8 months with this so-called company. If you can breath, can pay for "classes", licenses, and know people who have money to invest, you're in. Pay your $100, and your on your way to a 6 figure income.

This is always thrown at you, see where you can be in only 2 years, or 3 years, etc. BUT, the key is they say NUMBERS. Most people who are "associates", I wuldn't trust with, money or anything else for that matter. WMA has a 6 or 10 foot rule, I forget which, that whenever somebody comes within your "space",you are supposed to aproach them, and enlighten them about this great opportunity, WMA. And not being bad enough, then encroach upon them for their friends as well.

THe KEY is to get them to the meeting, say as little as possible during the initial visit, but bring them to a meeting so the hierarchy, MD, etc. can "persuade" them to join. BUT if they are not interested in joining as an associate, maybe an investor. AND ALWAYS, DO THEY KNOW ANYONE!!!Especially if they have money, or contacts. Because, the more people you bring in the fill up the bottom rung of the ladder, the FASTER YOU move up.

And of, course, the more potential $$ your MD will make. Because we here at WMA are only out to help families!! B.S. we at WMA are out to help ourselves.Yes, WMA does target companies that have just recently laid off their staff. Approach them, tell them we will hire them, and they could be in business for themselves.

Sound good, why not. That's what it's supposed to do. And you receive training, coaching, seminars to outline just how to do this. This company preys upon people's greed, their gullibility.

Yes, there are people making money, but they are at the top. They get a piece of everything that comes in the door.

At WMA, you must buy everything, nothing, I mean nothing is for free. Pens,paper, stationary, whatever, must be broght if you want the WMA logo on it.

Everything they do is FOR PROFIT.......theirs. If you are willing to sell your soul, alienate your family, have no moral conscience whatever, this company is for you. I thank God I am out.

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