FINRA Expungement Award:

25-Year Financial professional Expunged A 10-Year-Old, Settled Customer Dispute Disclosure


 

FINRA Expungement Award:

25-Year Financial professional Expunged A 10-Year-Old, Settled Customer Dispute Disclosure

 

Award Date: April 20, 2021
Hearing Site: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Respondent Firm: M&T Securities, Inc.
Claimant Representative: Erika Binnix, J.D., and Dochtor Kennedy, MBA, J.D.; AdvisorLaw, LLC


Case Objective:

A financial services professional who had been in the business for nearly 25 years had a settled customer dispute on his record that was meritless. Six full years after the sale of the product in question, the customer had alleged misrepresentation of a variable annuity.

The financial advisor sought to expunge all references of the disclosure from the CRD and BrokerCheck. AdvisorLaw pursued expungement of the customer dispute through FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Forum, under FINRA Rule 2080.


Case Summary:

The underlying complaint had been made by the customer, via the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Insurance Department. The customer took no legal action through arbitration to advance the claim, yet alleged that they had been, “led to believe they were getting a fixed product” when purchasing a Nationwide variable annuity.

Even though the allegations had been lodged when the customer was six years into the VA contract, doing exactly what firm compliance is taught to do, the firm had settled the claim for pennies on the dollar in an act of good faith. The firm never even discussed the settlement with the advisor, nor did it request a contribution to the settlement amount.

Evidence submitted to the Arbitration Panel included the VA account application, signed by the investor, six of the nine year-end account statements that were verified to have been sent to the investor, and confirmation that the investor never communicated any problems or concerns regarding the VA to the advisor or firm, for years preceding the complaint.


Result:

The Arbitration Panel found that the financial advisor’s testimony was “…credible[] and that the evidence did not support the complaint made by the [c]ustomer.”

Therefore, pursuant to Rule 13805 of the Code, the Arbitrator found that the claim, allegation, or information was factually impossible or clearly erroneous. The allegations as a whole were deemed to have no merit and recommended to be removed from the advisor’s CRD and BrokerCheck records.

The advisor who brought the case was fearful that an erroneous settlement, decided without his input or knowledge and without the ability to prove his innocence, was going to be on his permanent record for good. With the help of AdvisorLaw and FINRA’s Dispute Resolution Forum, a nearly decade-old wrong was corrected. Now the advisor’s BrokerCheck profile demonstrates to clients and prospects that one can indeed make it through a 25-year career with no valid blemishes.




Contact us to discuss AdvisorLaw's Disclosure Expungement services. The consultation is complimentary, and our services were created exclusively for financial advisors.