Voya Financial Advisors exposes more sensitive adviser information on its website

List of top advisers at the firm comes after Social Security numbers were put at risk

Mar 22, 2019 @ 2:58 pm

By Bruce Kelly

Weeks after a computer glitch risked exposing the Social Security numbers of its 1,800 registered reps and financial advisers, Voya Financial Advisors Inc. again revealed sensitive information about its advisers.

This time, a list on the Voya Financial Advisors' website of its premier advisers was made accessible to people outside the firm. Called the "top 500 qualification," the list details the production credits for the firm's leading advisers and whether they qualify for distinctions common at brokerage firms for leading proucers. They are split into three categories: "premier partners," "president' club," and "chairman's circle," according to the web page.

Production credits are widely used in the securities industry to calculate the pay of financial advisers and include commissions and sales charges embedded in products like mutual funds.

Larry Rosenthal is the top financial adviser at the firm with more than 3.2 million production credits. He could not be reached for comment on Friday.

About four hours after contacting Voya Financial Friday about the data breach, the firm emailed a statement to InvestmentNews, saying it had corrected the snafu.

"The list does not contain any client data or any personally identifiable information," wrote Christopher Breslin in an email. "The link was inadvertently made publicly viewable and has since been deactivated."

Many broker-dealers have such lists of top reps and advisers, but they are commonly proprietary and not meant to be seen outside the firm, industry observers said.

While not nearly as egregious as putting advisers Social Security numbers at risk, the latest glitch by Voya Financial is potentially embarrassing and raises questions about the controls in place to keep data confidential, those observers said.

"This is not as damning as showing a Social Security number, and having someone know in public that you are a successful adviser could actually be helpful," said Casey Knight, executive vice president, managing director at ESP Financial Search, a recruiting firm. "But no one wants to let on how much money they make, and such information could be misinterpreted."

"The solicitation from recruiters and wholesalers of the Voya advisers on the list could be overwhelming," Mr. Knight added.

Voya Financial Advisors recently reported other errors regarding data security. In September, the firm said it would pay $1 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges regarding a data security breach that compromised the personal information of thousands of customers.

Other firms also have had problems maintaining confidential information of their advisers. Last month, it was reported that BlackRock Inc. exposed sales information on 20,000 financial advisers. And in November, LPL Financial took steps to safeguard financial advisers and their clients whose names, addresses, account numbers and Social Security numbers were exposed in a data breach.

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