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FINRA Bars Ex-Primerica Rep Accused of Faking CE Completion Documents

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What You Need to Know

  • The broker was suspended for six months in 2020 over the allegations.
  • Several days later, Primerica terminated him.
  • He refused to testify in FINRA's investigation, which is a surefire way to be barred.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has barred a former Primerica/PFS Investments rep who had been accused of submitting false continuing education course completion documents and then didn’t cooperate with FINRA’s investigation into the allegations.

Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Michael Rene Pena signed a FINRA letter of acceptance, waiver and consent on Dec. 23 in which he consented to the broker-dealer self-regulator’s sanction. FINRA signed the letter Tuesday.

Primerica on Thursday declined to comment about FINRA’s allegations and its decision to bar him from associating with any FINRA members in any capacity. Pena did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Pena became registered with FINRA in 2017 as an investment company and variable contracts products representative through his association with PFS, according to FINRA.

On Dec. 11, 2020, the Florida Department of Financial Services suspended Pena for six months over allegations that he submitted false continuing education course completion documents, according to FINRA.

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Just days later, on Dec. 22, PFS filed a Form 5 Uniform Termination Notice for Pena, terminating his registration with FINRA.

FINRA staff later issued Pena a request for on-the-record testimony. Although Pena “initially cooperated with FINRA’s investigation, he ceased doing so in December 2021,” it said in the AWC letter.

Specifically, on Dec. 9, 2021, FINRA sent a request to Pena for on-the-record testimony. But, as stated in his phone call with FINRA on Dec. 16 and by the AWC agreement, Pena acknowledged that he had received the self-regulator’s request and said he would not appear for on-the-record testimony at any time.

By refusing to appear for on-the-record testimony as requested, he violated FINRA Rules 8210 (which requires information and testimony to be provided to FINRA when requested) and 2010 (governing standards of commercial honor and principles of trade). Not cooperating with a FINRA investigation is a surefire way to be barred from the industry.

(Photo: Shutterstock)