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FINRA Panel Rules in Favor of Farmer, Against Wells Fargo

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A retired farmer has been awarded nearly $122,000 by an arbitration panel that ruled against Wells Fargo Advisors. The farmer, Dennis Meyers of Waltham, Minnesota, said he opened an account with Wells Fargo in 2009, after getting a cold call from an advisor.

“Meyers is grateful that the [Financial Industry Regulatory Authority] arbitration panel did not fall for Wells Fargo’s argument that losses on Meyers’ energy investments should be offset by the gains on his annuity investment,” said Kalju Nekvasil, an attorney with Goodman & Nekvasil who represented the investor, in a statement.

The registered rep, Adam T. Marquardt, recommended that Meyers invest about $206,000 in energy investments, for which the client lost about $103,000, according to the complaint.

Meyers says these were “high-risk investments [that] were unsuitable for him and that Marquardt misrepresented the risks of these investments,” according to his lawyer.

“Brokerage firms should not be allowed to recommend high-risk investments to retirees with impunity,” Nekvasil explained.

The advisor also suggested Meyers buy a MetLife variable annuity and sell a John Hancock variable annuity and “falsely represented that the annual expenses were lower on the replacement annuity,” which had higher yearly expenses and a $12,915 commission charge, according to the attorneys.

The FINRA panel ruled for Meyers after meeting in Minneapolis between Jan. 29 and Feb. 1.

It ordered Wells Fargo to pay Meyers the roughly $103,000 lost on the energy investments and the annuity commission. It also awarded him interest of about $5,500 and a refund of $300 for part of Meyer’s filing fee.

According to his FINRA BrokerCheck records, Marquardt started in the business in June 2007 with A.G. Edwards.

Meyer’s complaint was filed in March 2017 and sought the recovery of $150,000.

Wells Fargo declined to comment.

— Check out Former Morgan Stanley Broker Says Firm Destroyed Evidence on ThinkAdvisor.


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