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Former Financial Advisor Francis Velten Barred by FINRA For Alleged Churning

Francis Velten (CRD#: 2291911) is a previously registered Broker and Investment Advisor.

Broker’s Background

He entered the securities industry in 1997 and previously worked for Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC; Independent Financial Group, LLC; Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.; Gunnallen Financial, Inc.; and A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc.

Current And Past Allegations Of Conduct Leading To Investment Loss

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in March 2022, FINRA sanctions were pending against Francis Velten, with the default decision rendered July 19, 2022 when he was barred from all capacities. The FINRA sanction states, “Velten was named a respondent in a FINRA complaint alleging that he failed to respond in any way to FINRA’s requests for information in connection with its investigation into an allegation that he churned and flipped his elderly customers’ accounts at his member firm, encouraging them to surrender their annuities and sell mutual fund holdings away from the firm and use the proceeds to purchase bonus annuities.”

For a copy of the FINRA sanction, click here.

In addition, Francis Velten has been the subject of nine customer complaints, including the following:

  • December 2016 — “Unsuitable recommendations.” The customer dispute was settled for $14,900.
  • April 2015 — “UNSUITABILITY OF A JACKSON NATIONAL VARIABLE ANNUITY PURCHASED IN MARCH OF 2011.” The customer dispute was settled for $10,000.
  • March 2013 — “WITH THE PROCEEDS OF A QUALIFIED ACCOUNT THE REPRESENTATIVE OPENED A NON-QUALIFIED ACCOUNT AT JACKSON NATIONAL IN 8/2010.” The customer dispute was closed with no action.
  • July 2012 — “CLIENTS ALLEGE LOSS OF DEATH BENEFIT AND GUARANTEED INCOME BENEFIT AS A RESULT OF VARIABLE ANNUITY EXCHANGES.” The customer dispute was settled for $65,000.
  • June 2010 — “UNSUITABILITY. REQUESTED REVISION AFTER FREE LOOK PERIOD EXPIRED.” The customer dispute was closed with no action.
  • June 2004 — “ALLEGES UNSUITABLE AND ILL-ADVISED INVESTMENTS. DAMAGES ARE NOT SPECIFIED BUT ARE BELIEVED TO BE IN EXCESS OF $5,000. ACTIVITY TOOK PLACE 1998.” The customer dispute was closed with no action.
  • November 2002 — “ALLEGES UNSUITABLE INVESTMENTS. DAMAGES ARE NOT SPECIFIED BUT APPEAR TO BE IN EXCESS OF $5000.00.” The customer dispute was settled for $24,000.
  • September 2001 — “CLIENT ALLEGED UNSUITABLE INVESTMENTS AND OMISSION OF MATERIAL FACTS. *** CLIENTS PRIMARY ACCOUNT OBJECTIVE WAS AGGRESSIVE INCOME. PRIOR TO SALE OF THE MUTUAL FUND, I REVIEWED THE FUND INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE AND ASSOCIATED INVESTMENT RISKS WITH THE CLIENT USING THE FUND PROSPECTUS IN MY OFFICE. CLIENT INSTRUCTED ME TO LIQUIDATED AGAINST MY ADVICE. DURING A NINETEEN MONTH PERIOD, I MET WITH THE CLIENT ON THREE OCCASIONS AT MY OFFICE. I HAD AT LEAST TWELVE TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS WITH THE CLIENT DURING THE SAME NINETEEN MONTH PERIOD AFTER EACH CLIENT CONTACT,MRS. MUDGE THANKED ME FOR MY EFFORTS AND ADVICE AND ASSURED ME SHE WOULD HOLD ON TO THE MUTUAL FUND.” The customer dispute was denied.
  • July 2001 — “CLIENTS ALLEGED MISREPRESENTATION; UNSUITABLE RECOMMENDATIONS AND LOSSES OF OVER $5,000. **** THE CUSTOMERS DID NOT HAVE A CAPITAL LOSS ON THEIR INVESTMENTS. NO POSITIONS IN EITHER OF CUSTOMER’S IRAS WERE LIQUIDATED. BOTH IRAS WERE TRANSFERRED IN KIND TO UBS/PAINE WEBBER ON JUNE 27, 2001. CUSTOMERS BOTH SIGNED IRA CARDS ON FEBRUARY 17, 2000, THAT CLEARLY STATED THEIR PRIMARY INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE AS AGGRESSIVE GROWTH. CUSTOMERS AND I COLLECTIVELY DECIDED AGGRESSIVE GROWTH WAS THEIR PRIMARY INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE AFTER TWO, TWO-HOUR MEETINGS IN MY OFFICE. A.G. EDWARDS’ IRA STATEMENTS WERE ISSUED ON A QUARTERLY BASIS AND REFLECTED THE PRIMARY INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE OF AGGRESSIVE GROWTH. ADDITIONALLY, CUSTOMER (MR.) WOULD FREQUENTLY GO ON-LINE USING AGECONNECT TO REVIEW HIS AND CUSTOMER (MRS.) IRAS. AGECONNECT PROMINENTLY DISPLAYED THE PRIMARY INVESTMENT OBJECTIVE FOR BOTH IRAS AS AGGRESSIVE GROWTH.” The customer dispute was denied.

For a copy of Francis Velten’s FINRA BrokerCheck, click here.

We Help Investors Recover Investment Losses

Excessive trading often occurs when a Financial Advisor puts his or her interests ahead of the clients and makes transactions solely for the purpose of generating commissions. Financial Advisors have a regulatory duty to recommend suitable investment strategies. One of the components of the suitability analysis is quantitative suitability.

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. 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.

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.

Attorney Matthew Wolper

Attorney Matthew WolperMatt Wolper is a trial lawyer who focuses exclusively on securities litigation and arbitration. Mr. Wolper has handled hundreds of securities matters nationwide before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), JAMS, and in state and federal court. Mr. Wolper has handled and tried cases involving complex financial products and strategies ranging from traditional stocks and bonds to options, margin and other securities-based lending products, closed/open-end mutual funds, structured products, hedge funds, and penny stocks. [Attorney Bio]