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FINRA Bars Ex-Merrill Rep Who Refused to Cooperate With Probe

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

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred an ex-Merrill Lynch rep from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity after he refused to provide the self-regulatory organization with documents and information it requested as part of an investigation, according to FINRA.

FINRA was probing Peter Vincent Ianace’s “potential failure to disclose outside business activities” while he was with Merrill Lynch, FINRA said. Ianace joined the firm in 2011 but “voluntarily resigned” in December 2019, according to FINRA.

Without admitting or denying the findings, Ianace signed a FINRA letter of acceptance, waiver and consent Aug. 23. FINRA accepted the letter Thursday.

Merrill Lynch declined to comment Friday. Ianace did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After leaving Merrill Lynch, Ianace went to work for another FINRA member firm from December 2019 through May, when that company terminated him. FINRA did not identify the second firm in the letter. However, FINRA’s BrokerCheck website identifies it as Wells Fargo.

Neither the letter nor BrokerCheck specified why he left Wells Fargo, who declined to comment.

There was a customer dispute involving Ianace while he was with Wells Fargo in which the claimants alleged their advisors at the firm “made unsuitable recommendations and neglected to reduce the over-concentrated and over-leveraged nature of their accounts,” according to a disclosure on his report. The claimants are seeking in excess of $13 million, according to the more detailed FINRA report on the BrokerCheck site. That complaint is still pending.

Ianace is no longer a registered broker or RIA, according to BrokerCheck. He has been serving as chief operating officer for VitalTech Innovations, a remote patient monitoring and digital health company in Plano, Texas, since June 2019, according to his LinkedIn profile.