Georgia Advisor Restores Public Record With Termination Expungement

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Award Date: September 5, 2023
Claimant Representatives: Kathleen Patchel, J.D. and Dochtor Kennedy, MBA, J.D.
Respondent Firm: Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC

Case Objective: 

A FINRA-registered representative in Georgia had a termination disclosure marring her otherwise-perfect, 16-year record of performance in the financial services industry. In hopes of achieving expungement of the mark, she hired AdvisorLaw to try her luck in the FINRA Dispute Resolution forum.

Case Summary:

In 2004, our advisor joined the firm as a bank teller. She was not licensed to sell securities at that time. Three years later, she became registered with the firm as a licensed banker. Two years after that, she became a regional private banker. As a premier banker, our advisor rarely handled safe deposit boxes in her role with the firm.

Between 2009 and 2016, on the rare occasion that she assisted a client with a safe deposit box, our advisor consistently followed an authentication process that used electronic pin pads to capture signatures. When minors were involved, a manager’s signature was required. However, a system error resulted in the firm’s computer system requesting a manager’s signature every time, regardless of any minor’s involvement. 

Our advisor’s superiors and colleagues consistently told her that the proper procedure was to print the manager’s initials on a related form in cases where no minor was involved. Our advisor did so on approximately 20 occasions in 7 years, in order to work around the system error.

In early 2016, our advisor was processing a high volume of clients closing out safe deposit boxes due to the closing of a nearby branch. In doing so, the advisor printed a manager’s initials on safe deposit box documents when a manager was out of the office. 

Upon her return, the manager called the firm’s human resources department and claimed that our advisor had forged her signature. Our advisor was terminated, and she received a disclosure on her records, alleging that she had signed a manager’s initials on a bank document.


At the FINRA expungement hearing, the FINRA Arbitrator considered the pleadings, the evidence, our advisor’s testimony, and the arguments in support of expungement that were presented at the hearing by Kathleen Patchel, J.D. and Dochtor Kennedy, MBA, J.D. 

The Arbitrator deemed the materials, testimony, and arguments to be credible. Based on the defamatory nature of the information, he recommended the expungement of all references to the termination from Forms U4 and U5, as well as the Central Registration Depository. He directed that the reason for termination be changed to “Voluntary” and that the termination explanation on Form U5 appear blank. 

With this sole disclosure from 2016 soon to be wiped from our advisor’s records, she may now approach her 20th year in the industry with a perfect public record.

Learn more about our Form U5 Termination Expungement Services or contact us today for a complimentary consultation!

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