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John Simoncic: FINRA Bars Reno, Nevada Broker

A disciplinary action taken by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against former Reno, Nevada broker John Simoncic (CRD# 1062932) barred him over allegations of excessive trading and unsuitable recommendations of non-traditional exchange-traded funds (ETFs). A former representative of Financial West Group, Simoncic was barred from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with a broker-dealer firm.

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (No. 2017054755205) dated October 2018, John Simoncic was associated with Financial West Group when, between between August 2014 and November 2016, he churned and excessively traded customer accounts, and recommended unsuitable investments concerning non-traditional ETF transactions in the accounts of two customers, including one senior citizen.

FINRA’s findings state specifically that during that period, Simoncic held “de facto control” over investments in the IRA of a retired 65-year-old customer whose annual income came from her retired husband’s pension and the couple’s Social Security benefits. Her investment objective, according to FINRA, was “preservation of capital with a conservative risk tolerance,” and she “relied completely upon Simoncic” to manage the account and make investment-related decisions for her. FINRA states that he excessively traded her account and conducted his investment activities “with a reckless disregard” for her interests. He executed 97 trades in her account during that period, according to FINRA, charging commissions and fees of about $40,000, and the account sustained “a complete loss of the retirement savings,” or about $60,000, of which about $35,000 related to trading in exchange-traded funds which the customer “did not have an understanding of.”

FINRA’s findings go on to describe a second customer, a 51-year-old single parent and small business owner with little investment experience who transferred four accounts to Financial West in July 2014; her investment objective was “preservation of capital and accumulation of wealth with a moderate risk tolerance.” Simoncic also exercised “de facto control” over her four accounts, and she also “relied completely” upon him for account management and investment decisions. FINRA states that he excessively traded her accounts and acted with “reckless disregard” for her interests, and that his trades resulted in losses of about “$45,000 of the $63,000 that she transferred to Financial West,” while he charged commissions and fees of about $39,000. FINRA found that Simoncic’s conduct in both accounts constituted violations of rules concerning suitability and excessive trading. As a result of the foregoing alleged conduct, he was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity.

John Simoncic is currently not registered as a broker or investment adviser. His employment history includes Financial West Group in Reno, Nevada; Securities America in Solana Beach, California; Financial West Group in San Diego, California; Torrey Pines Wealth Management in San Marcos, California; Torrey Pines Securities in San Diego, California; Mission Securities Corporation in San Diego, California; Centex Securities in La Jolla, California; Fortress Financial Group in Isle of Palms, South Carolina; La Jolla Capital Corporation in San Diego, California; La Jolla Securities Corporation in La Jolla, California; JW Gant & Associates; Chatfield Dean & Company in Greenwood Village, Colorado; and Merrill Lynch. He currently holds zero state licenses and has passed five securities industry qualification examinations.

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