A Finra arbitration panel has ordered Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, the firm’s independent brokerage, to pay thousands of dollars tied to a case involving one of its former brokers, according to news reports.
In April, Robin Fratto, of Freehold, N.J., filed a Finra arbitration claim alleging that in 2011 she entrusted her late husband’s life insurance policy, worth more than $2 million, to Leonard Kinsman, who was then with Merrill Lynch.
Kinsman, who moved to Wells Fargo in 2014, took Fratto’s account with him and allegedly placed the money on margin and used it to trade in speculative options and non-income producing securities. In 2017 Fratto learned that all the funds, aside from two annuities, were gone. The claim also accuses Wells Fargo of failing to properly supervise Kinsman.
Finra arbitrators are scheduled to have a hearing on Fratto’s case during the week of May 26, 2020, the New York Post writes. But the arbitrators made an “unusual move” in fining Wells Fargo, ordering it to pay a daily fee until they deliver documents about Kinsman’s trading, for the amount of $200 a day starting on Nov. 12 and $400 a day starting on Nov. 23, according to the paper, which cites Finra documents.
John Singer, a securities lawyer at Singer Deutsch, tells the Post that Finra arbitrators impose such sanctions roughly once every two years.
As of December 2, Wells Fargo is on the hook for $6,200 in fees, according to the paper. The arbitrators also ordered the company to cover lawyers’ fees for filing the discovery motion and arbitration costs, which could be up to $20,400, Fratto’s lawyer, Stuart Meissner, tells the Post.
Wells Fargo tells the paper that it has no comment on the fine. Kinsman’s lawyer didn’t respond to the Post’s request for comment.
Kinsman joined the financial services industry in 1997 and first came to Wells Fargo Advisors in 2008, according to his BrokerCheck profile.
He left the firm for Merrill Lynch in 2011, joined Wells Fargo Advisors FiNet in 2014 and left in July of this year, according to BrokerCheck. He has four more customer disputes on his record, starting in 1998, with three of them settled and one withdrawn. After leaving Wells Fargo, Kinsman never registered with another firm, according to BrokerCheck.