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Broker Impersonated Clients and Supervisor 30 Times: FINRA

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An ex-Northwestern Mutual Investment Services broker allegedly impersonated two of his clients and his supervisor during 30 telephone calls with an insurance affiliate of the firm, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Without admitting or denying the regulator’s claims, Michael Edward Feeley signed a FINRA letter of acceptance, waiver and consent on July 30, agreeing to a $7,500 fine and to be suspended from associating in any and all capacities with any FINRA member for 45 days. FINRA accepted the letter Tuesday.

Feeley was “terminated shortly after we found evidence he had violated rules of conduct,” Northwestern Mutual spokesperson Betsy Hoylman told ThinkAdvisor Wednesday.

After a stint at Merrill Lynch that ended in 2004, Feeley did not become associated with another FINRA member firm again until he joined Northwestern Mutual in 2014, according to FINRA’s BrokerCheck website. The website also shows he is no longer registered as a broker or RIA.

From February 2017 through July 2019, Feeley was registered with FINRA as a general securities representative through his association with Northwestern Mutual, according to the FINRA AWC letter.

However, in a Form U5 termination notice dated July 16, 2019, Northwestern Mutual reported that Feeley was “permitted to resign while under internal review for having, on multiple occasions, posed as clients during telephone calls made to another financial institution,” according to FINRA.

From March to May 2019, Feeley impersonated two clients on 10 telephone calls with the firm’s insurance affiliate, FINRA alleged. Feeley posed as the customers on calls to the affiliate’s customer service department to obtain information about the customers’ insurance contracts, according to the AWC letter.

“Although the policy information was requested, neither of the customers authorized Feeley to impersonate them,” according to FINRA.

During the same period, Feeley impersonated his firm supervisor without authorization during 20 telephone calls with the same affiliate, the regulator alleged. Feeley posed as his supervisor when that person was the only servicing representative of record with the affiliate and Feeley “had an urgent need for information about the terms or status of a customer’s policy,” according to the AWC letter.

By impersonating two customers and his firm supervisor on the phone calls, Feeley violated FINRA Rule 2010 (governing standards of commercial honor and principles of trade), according to FINRA.

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