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FINRA Fines Ex-Raymond James Rep Who Impersonated Client

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What You Need to Know

  • The rep allegedly pretended to be a client when speaking to an annuity company twice while he was with Raymond James.
  • The rep currently serves as an advisor and broker for Ameriprise.
  • He consented to a $5,000 fine and 15-day suspension by FINRA for his actions.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has fined and suspended an Ameriprise advisor who allegedly impersonated a client when speaking by phone to an annuity company twice while he was a rep for Raymond James early last year.

David Lynn Van Geffen signed a FINRA letter of acceptance, waiver and consent on Aug. 9 in which he consented to a $5,000 fine and 15-day suspension from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity. FINRA signed the letter Monday.

Ameriprise declined to comment Tuesday. Raymond James and Benjamin Winograd, an attorney representing Geffen for the Westminster, Colorado law firm HLBS Law, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Winograd also serves as director of enforcement and associate attorney at AdvisorLaw, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Van Geffen entered the securities industry in 1988 when he became associated with FINRA members Mony Securities, where he remained a broker until 1993, and The Mutual Life Insurance Co. of New York, where he remained a broker until 1990, according to his report on FINRA’s BrokerCheck website. He went on to be a broker for Edward Jones from 1993 through 1996.

He joined Raymond James Financial Services as a general securities representative and broker in 1996 and also became a registered advisor for the firm in 2006.

On March 24, 2020, however, RJFS filed a Form U5 Uniform Termination Notice, ending his association with the firm. The advisor “impersonated client in an attempt to facilitate a service-related request with an annuity company” on two occasions, according to disclosures on his BrokerCheck report. Those incidents happened by phone in January and February 2020, according to FINRA.

As a result of his actions, Van Geffen violated FINRA Rule 2010 (governing the standards of commercial honor and principles of trade), according to FINRA. Impersonating a client “for the purpose of increasing the income benefit from an annuity is inconsistent with this standard,” FINRA said.

In January 2020, the client requested that Van Geffen “effectuate an increase in the customer’s annuity income benefit,” according to FINRA. Then, in January and February, Van Geffen impersonated the client during two phone calls with the annuity company and successfully obtained the increase, FINRA said.

However, although the client “requested that Van Geffen effectuate the increase in the income benefit, he did not give Van Geffen permission to impersonate him with the annuity company,” according to FINRA.

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