Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network should admit to having “fabricated” findings in its reason for terminating three financial advisors, according to a Finra arbitration panel.
Wells Fargo Advisors FiNet claimed on BrokerCheck that David Vorbeck, Stephen Dunnuck and Stephen Wien were permitted to resign in May 2017 as a result of “termination of licensee agreement of certain annuity processes,” namely, “the processes of submission and funding of client annuity replacement contracts.”
Vorbeck, Dunnuck and Wien joined Ameriprise’s independent channel the same year.
In May 2018, the three registered representatives claimed defamation, tortious interference with prospective business advantage and with contract, negligence and unjust enrichment, according to an award document published by Finra.
The claimants alleged that Wells Fargo Advisors FiNet made false and defamatory statements on their Form U5 separation records, the regulator says. They sought compensatory damages of no less than around $8.6 million, punitive damages and expungement and modification of their Form U5s, according to the award document.
In November 2019, Wells Fargo and the three brokers told the panel they reached a settlement related to the monetary damages only, Finra says.
Last week, the panel recommended the expungement of the reason for termination on all three Form U5s, changing them to “Voluntary” and adding that the termination explanation for Vorbeck, Dunnuck and Wien should read that they were “disaffiliated as a result of fabricated investigatory findings,” according to the award document.