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FINRA Bars Ex-Wells Fargo Rep Fired for ‘Unprofessional Conduct’

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FINRA sign outside its building in New York. Outside FINRA building in New York. (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred an ex-Wells Fargo broker from association with any FINRA member in any capacity after he refused to appear for on-the-record testimony as part of an investigation into the events that resulted in his termination from the firm for “unprofessional conduct,” according to FINRA.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Leonard C. Kinsman signed a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent May 8 in which he agreed to FINRA’s sanction. FINRA accepted the letter Wednesday.

From June 2014 to July 2019, Kinsman was registered as a general securities representative through an association with Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, according to FINRA. He was also registered through the firm as a general securities principal from March 2015 to July 2019.

On July 4, 2019, Wells Fargo filed a Form U5, stating that it discharged Kinsman for unprofessional conduct, according to the FINRA AWC letter, which did not specify what he did to warrant the termination.

Wells Fargo declined to comment Thursday. A. Manny Alicandro, the attorney who represented Kinsman in the dispute with FINRA, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the most recent customer dispute disclosure cited on Kinsman’s profile at FINRA’s BrokerCheck website, the claimant alleged that, from 2012 through 2017, Kinsman “made unsuitable investment recommendations” and engaged in “forgery and falsifying business records,” according to BrokerCheck. The dispute was filed April 9, 2019 and settled May 9, 2020 by Wells Fargo for $995,000. Two of the other five customer dispute disclosures were during his time at Wells Fargo, but dated back to 2016. One of them was resolved that year for $24,000 and the other was withdrawn.

On April 23, 2020, in connection with a FINRA investigation into the events resulting in Kinsman’s termination from Wells Fargo and sales practice complaints, FINRA staff sent a request to him for on-the-record testimony, according to the FINRA letter. However, as stated during his counsel’s phone call with FINRA staff that same day and by the AWC agreement, Kinsman “acknowledges that he received FINRA’s request and will not appear for on-the-record testimony at any time,” according to the letter.

By refusing to appear for on-the-record testimony as requested, Kinsman violated FINRA Rules 8210 (governing the provision of information and testimony) and 2010 (governing standards of commercial honor and principles of trade), FINRA said.

— Check out FINRA Suspends Ex-Merrill Rep Over Esports Business on ThinkAdvisor.


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