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Broker Ronald Giovino Barred Indefinitely by FINRA After Failing to Cooperate in Investigation Into Allegations of Breaking Fiduciary Duty to Clients

Ronald Giovino (CRD#: 2236071) is a previously registered Broker. He entered the securities industry in 1992 and previously worked for Legend Equities Corporation; GWN Securities, Inc.; Money Concepts Capital Corp.; Royal Alliance Associates, Inc.; Prime Capital Services, Inc.; Legend Equities Corporation; and Legend Capital Corporation.

 

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in July 2021, FINRA sanctioned Ronald Giovino, barring him from all capacities indefinitely, beginning on July 8, 2021. The FINRA sanction states, “Without admitting or denying the findings, Giovino consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to produce information and documents requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into whether he converted customer funds. The findings stated that this matter originated from information received by FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors. Although Giovino produced certain information and documents, he failed to make a complete production and refused to produce the outstanding information and documents.”

 

For a copy of the FINRA sanction, click here .

 

In addition, Ronald Giovino has been the subject of three customer complaints, including one that remain pending, including the following:

 

  • July 2021–”Without admitting or denying the findings, Giovino consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he refused to produce information and documents requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation into whether he converted customer funds. The findings stated that this matter originated from information received by FINRA Securities Helpline for Seniors. Although Giovino produced certain information and documents, he failed to make a complete production and refused to produce the outstanding information and documents.” Ronal Giovino was discharged from GWN Securities, Inc.
  • April 2021–”REPRESENTATIVE IS UNDER INVESTIGATION BY FINRA DUE TO A CLIENT COMPLAINT WHICH ALLEGES THAT THE REPRESENTATIVE VIOLATED HIS FIDUCIARY DUTY BY ENTERING INTO A LOAN AGREEMENT WITH THE CLIENT.” The investigation was initiated by FINRA.
  • April 2021–”On July 28th, 2020 the rep entered into a loan agreement with client for an amount of $100,000 which was to be repaid by the via monthly installments with a maturity date of August 3rd, 2040. Client alleges that the representative breached his fiduciary duties after engaging in a business relationship with the client through the use of a personal loan to purchase a commercial property. In addition the client is alleging that the representative failed to mortgage the property as security for the loan.” The customer dispute was closed with no action.
  • August 2019–”Clients received an inherited IRA. Both wanted to use part of the money to pay off some debt and have the rest remain in an inherited IRA. Rep inadvertently told them they could take a full distribution and then rollover what proceeds they did not need. The rep was incorrect in that you cannot rollover a non-spouse inherited IRA. Customers seeking payment of the tax liability on the full distribution.” The customer dispute is pending. Damages of $60,000 are requested.
  • October 2011–”CLIENT ROLLED OVER 401K PLAN TO A JACKSON VARIABLE ANNUITY IN 2007. DUE TO MARKET DECLINE, CLIENT’S VALUE DROPPED TO APPROXIMATELY $47,360.00. IN 2008, THE CONTRACT WAS SURRENDERED AND THE VALUE WAS TRANSFERRED TO AVIVA EIA. CLIENT INCURRED A SURRENDER CHARGE OF $8504.00. A YEAR LATER, A 10% WITHDRAWAL WAS TAKEN ON THE EIA AND MOVED TO A FRANKLIN GOLD AND PRECIOUS METALS FUND. ON THE ORIGINAL JACKSON CONTRACT CLIENT HAD A LIVING BENEFIT. BY HER ESTIMATES SHE IS REQUESTING FULL RESTITUTION OF $111,141.00 WHICH SHE CLAIMS CONSTITUTES SURRENDER CHARGES, MARKET LOSS AND THE 6% LIVING BENEFIT.” Damages of $111,141 were requested. The customer dispute was closed with no action.
  • December 2001–”DUI AND BATTERY TO LEO. CHARGE WAS FELONY FOR ACCUSED OF SPITTING ON A POLICE OFFICER. THERE WAS NO CONVICTION. THE CHARGE WAS SENT TO A WITHHOLD OF ADJUDICATION OR NO CONVICTION.” Criminal charges resulted in the following disposition: “PROBATION OF 12 MONTHS FOR DUI AND PROBATION OF 18 MONTHS FOR BATTERY OF LEO. 02/12/2003 ORDER FILED FOR TERMINATION OF PROBATION ON BOTH COUNTS.”

 

For a copy of Ronald Giovino’s FINRA BrokerCheck, click here.

 

Financial advisors have a legal and regulatory obligation to recommend only suitable investments that are appropriate for their clients’ needs and objectives. Their employing brokerage firm has a legal and regulatory obligation to supervise the Financial Advisors’ sales practices and dealings with clients. To the extent any of these duties are breached, the customer may be entitled to a recovery of his or her investment losses.

 

Reasonable basis suitability requires that a recommended investment or investment strategy be suitable or appropriate for at least some investors. Reasonable basis suitability requires an advisor to conduct adequate due diligence so that he or she can determine the risks and rewards of the investment or investment strategy.

 

Quantitative suitability requires a brokerage firm or financial advisor with actual or de facto control over a customer’s account to have a reasonable basis for believing that a series of recommended transactions – even if suitable when viewed in isolation – is not excessive and unsuitable for the customer when taken together in light of the customer’s investment profile. No single test defines excessive activity, but factors such as the turnover rate, the cost-equity ratio, and the use of in-and-out trading in a customer’s account may provide a basis for a finding that a member or associated person has violated the quantitative suitability obligation.

 

Customer-specific suitability requires that a member or associated person have a reasonable basis to believe that the recommendation is suitable for a particular customer based on that customer’s investment profile. Among the criteria that a financial advisor must evaluate to satisfy his or her customer-specific suitability obligations include the investor’s agee, tax status, time horizon, liquidity needs, and risk tolerance; a client’s other investments, financial situation and needs, investment objectives, and any other information disclosed by the customer should also be considered.

 

The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration on a contingency fee basis. Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, is a trial lawyer who has handled hundreds of securities cases during his career involving a wide range of products, strategies and securities. Prior to representing investors, he was a partner with a national law firm, where he represented some of the largest banks and brokerage firms in the world in securities matters. We can be reached at 800.931.8452 or by email at mwolper@wolperlawfirm.com.

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