Former Transamerica Financial Advisors Financial Advisor Wenru Liang Suspended and Fined for Making Unsuitable Recommendations
Wenru Liang (CRD#: 5157279) was an Investment Advisor at Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc. in Columbia, MD. She entered the securities industry in 2008 and previously worked for World Group Securities, Inc.
According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in February 2021, FINRA sanctioned Wenru Liang, suspending her for six months from all capacities beginning on February 16, 2021, and levied a civil and administrative penalty of $7,500. The FINRA sanction states, “Without admitting or denying the findings, Liang consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that she engaged in an unethical course of conduct and circumvented her member firm’s policies and procedures by assisting an elderly customer to designate her and a colleague, also a firm registered representative, as beneficiaries on the customer’s variable annuity policy, misrepresenting their relationship with the customer to the annuity company, and attempting to conceal her conduct from her firm. The findings stated that, several years prior, the customer purchased a variable annuity and designated her family members as beneficiaries. The customer was not related to Liang or Liang’s colleague. During a call with the annuity company, Liang’s colleague, with Liang present, claimed that she was calling for “grandma,” and requested that a change of beneficiary form to be sent to the colleague’s personal email address. Neither Liang nor her colleague identified themselves as registered representatives associated with the firm. Liang and her colleague assisted the customer in completing a beneficiary change form, which falsely represented to the annuity company that Liang’s relationship to owner was “sister” and Liang’s colleague’s relationship to owner was “granddaughter.” The customer’s family members discovered that Liang and her colleague were designated as the customer’s beneficiaries and the designations were changed to remove Liang and her colleague. Liang never disclosed to the firm that she was a named beneficiary on the customer’s variable annuity, including after the customer’s family members complained to the firm. Moreover, during an internal review, Liang denied being a beneficiary of the customer’s accounts or policies in response to an email from the firm. She continued to deny being the customer’s beneficiary in response to email inquiries about her beneficiary status and during an interview with firm compliance personnel.”
For a copy of the FINRA sanction, click here.
In addition, Wenru Liang has one additional disclosure, including the following:
● August 2020 — “The Representative was involved in a process that resulted in her being listed as a beneficiary on a customer’s variable annuity held at another firm. The Representative was identified as the customer’s sister on the beneficiary change request form. The Representative was not related to the customer. Additionally, the Representative provided inaccurate information to the firm during its investigation into the matter.” Wenru Liang was discharged from Transamerica Financial Advisors, Inc., as a result of the allegations.
For a copy of Wenru Liang’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.
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