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Francis Velten: Churning Allegations Against New Port Richey Advisor
A pending FINRA enforcement action against former Ameriprise financial advisor Francis Velten (CRD# 2291911) alleges he failed to respond to an investigation into potential churning in the accounts of elderly customers. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records show that Mr. Velten was most recently registered in New Port Richey, Florida, and that he has received several investor complaints.
According to a FINRA complaint (No. 2020066032801) issued in March 2022, Mr. Velten was named respondent in an action alleging he failed to respond to requests for information connected with its investigation into potential misconduct. The complaint states that FINRA initiated an investigation in 2020 into whether he “churned” and “flipped” the accounts of elderly customers at Summit Brokerage, one of his former member firms, and that he encouraged “‘one retiree after another’ to surrender their annuities and sell mutual fund holdings away from Summit and use the proceeds to purchase bonus annuities.” The complaint notes further that Mr. Velten allegedly received commissions while his customers “incurred significant surrender charges.” FINRA sent Mr. Velten written requests for information in October 2021, November 2021, January 2022, and February 2022, the complaint states, but he “did not respond… in any way.”
Noting that FINRA rules require persons under its jurisdiction to cooperate with requests for information under its investigation, FINRA’s Department of Enforcement has requested that a hearing panel sanction Mr. Velten. The complaint remains pending.
Mr. Velten’s BrokerCheck report discloses several investor complaints. The most recent, filed in 2016, alleged that as a representative of Summit Brokerage Services, he recommended unsuitable investments, including an investment in Sabrient Systems. The complaint reached a settlement of $14,900. An earlier complaint, filed in 2013, alleged that variable annuity exchanges resulted in the loss of a death and guaranteed income benefits, reaching a settlement of $335,000.
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Francis Velten holds 27 years of securities industry experience. He is no longer registered as a broker or an investment advisor. His past registrations include Ameriprise Financial Services (New Port Richey, Florida; 2020), Independent Financial Group (New Port Richey, Florida; 2018-2020), Summit Brokerage Services (New Port Richey, Florida; 2006-2018), Gunnallen Financial (New Port Richey, Florida; 2002-2006), and A.G. Edwards & Sons (St. Louis, Missouri; 1993-2002). (Information current as of June 27, 2022.)
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