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Ron Blasczyk: FINRA Suspends Wisconsin Wells Fargo Advisor
A disciplinary action taken by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against Green Bay, Wisconsin broker and investment advisor Ron Blasczyk (CRD# 3065429) suspended him over allegations that he recommended unsuitable variable annuity products to an elderly customer of his member firm, Wells Fargo Clearing Services. Blasczyk was fined $10,000 and suspended from acting as a broker for 15 days as a result of these findings.
According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (No. 2016052503102) signed in May 2019, in 2015 Ron Blacsczyk unsuitably recommended a 75-year-old customer liquidate a variable annuity product which she had owned for ten years, a recommendation he made “based in part on a fundamental misunderstanding of the Voya VA’s performance.” FINRA states specifically that he “understated” the annuity’s annual rate of return, and that he incorrectly determined the customer’s “funds were at risk because the amount she held in Voya annuities was nearing the amount insured from loss by the Wisconsin Insurance Security Fund,” although in fact the funds were not near that threshold. FINRA states that Blasczyk’s recommendation caused the customer to liquidate the variable annuity, thus giving up “a substantial guaranteed income benefit base” which it had accumulated during the time she held it.
FINRA’s findings note that when the customer bought the annuity in 2015, she included a Minimum Guaranteed Income Benefit rider. The MGIB had a rate of 7%, which meant that its benefit base would increase by 7% annually “regardless of the performance” of the customer’s sub-accounts, and would continue increasing until the customer turned 80 “or her benefit base reached an amount equal to 300% of the premium paid. When the customer and Blasczyk met in June 2015, he allegedly “understated” her rate of return as 2.3%, when it was actually 4.3%, according to FINRA’s findings. He also allegedly learned, in a review of account statements for the customer’s non-Wells Fargo accounts, that she had another Voya annuity, “and erroneously concluded that the total amount [she] had invested with Voya was nearing the $300,000 limit insured by the Wisconsin Insurance Security Fund.” FINRA states that the amount was in reality less than $200,000.
At the time of the meeting, FINRA states, the customer was 75 years old, “and had no concerns about her Voya VA.” When Blasczyk executed the account liquidation based on his alleged misunderstandings, according to FINRA, she lost the MGIB benefit base. FINRA found that this constituted violations of FINRA Rules 2111 and 2010. As a result of these findings, Blasczyk was issued a 15 day suspension from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity, as well as a fine of $10,000.
Ron Blasczyk is currently registered with Wells Fargo Clearing Services’ offices in Green Bay and Manitowoc, Wisconsin. His employment history includes Wells Fargo Investments, US Bancorp Investments, Ameriprise Financial Services, Vision Investment Services, Fiserv Investor Services, Nicolaus & Company, and Edward Jones. He holds ten state registrations and has passed four securities industry qualification examinations.