**Update: 3/22/2021** On December 21, 2020, the state of Maryland revoked Mr. Wesselt’s registration. In addition, in December 2020, two additional customers filed complaints concerning the suitability of recommendations made by Mr. Wesselt.
Financial Advisor Richard Michael Wesselt BARRED by FINRA for Recommendations in Unsuitable Variable Annuity Investments to 78 Customers – Collegeville, PA
FINRA has permanently barred financial advisor Richard Michael Wesselt from the securities industry. Richard Michael Wesselt was an Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Representative with The O.N. Equity Sales Company in Collegeville, PA, from March 2014 until September 2017. He has been registered with Fortune Financial Services, Inc. since his termination from The O.N. Equity Sales Company.
If you have lost money with Richard Michael Wesselt, contact New York securities arbitration lawyers Iorio Altamirano LLP for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.
Richard Michael Wesselt and FINRA entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (“AWC”) on November 9, 2020, over allegations related to Wesselt’s conduct between March 2014 until September 2017. Specifically, his recommendations to customers to purchase variable annuities and whole life insurance policies:
- Wesselt recommended that customers liquidate their retirement savings such as 401(k)s or IRAs and use the proceeds to purchase variable annuities. After buying the annuities, Wesselt often recommended that customers withdraw funds from the annuities to purchase whole life insurance policies from Wesselt.
- Wesselt advised customers that as part of his “building your own bank” or “infinite banking” investment strategy, they could also use the cash value in their whole life insurance policies to make loans to themselves.
- Wesselt’s recommendations to 78 customers to purchase variable annuities were unsuitable. The recommendations caused significant harm to his customers, including unnecessary surrender charges, costly fees, and penalties, forfeiture of expected benefits. Worse, customers suffered the depletion or complete loss of their retirement savings.
- Wesselt advised customers to sign incomplete or blank pages of various documents, including new account documents, variable annuity disclosure forms, and documents authorizing the withdrawal of funds from variable annuities.
- Wesselt’s conduct caused his firm, The N. Equity Sales Company, to have inaccurate books and records in violation of FINRA rules.
- Wesselt earned $686,025 in commissions from the sale of the variable annuities.
Prior to making a recommendation, registered representatives must exercise particular care to ensure that a variable annuity is suitable for a customer. A variable annuity is a complex, long-term investment vehicle that offers tax-deferred treatment of earnings, annuity payout options which may include guaranteed income payments and a death benefit. It often has high surrender charges and fees.
Financial Advisor Richard Michael Wesselt (CRD#: 2195569)
Richard Michael Wesselt has been the subject of seventeen customer complaints, including six complaints, which are currently pending. The complaints allege the same types of violations outlined in the FINRA AWC: unsuitable recommendations involving the sale of variable annuities and life insurance to customers. He has been in the securities industry since 1992 and has been registered with the following firms:
- Fortune Financial Services, Inc., Collegeville, PA (September 2017 – Present);
- The O.N. Equity Sales Company, Collegeville, PA (March 2014 – September 2017);
- Sterne Agee Financial Services, Inc., Jeffersonville, PA (May 2002 – March 2014);
- American Investment Services, Inc., Oklahoma City, OK (April 1997 – May 2002);
- W.S. Griffith & Co., Inc., Hartford, CT (May 1994 – March 1997); and
- PML Securities Company, Newark, DE (August 1992 – May 1994).
American Investment Services, Inc. is a disreputable firm that was expelled from the securities industry by FINRA.
Brokerage firms must establish and maintain a reasonably designed system to supervise associated persons and their activities to ensure compliance with securities laws and industry regulations. When a brokerage firm fails to adequately supervise associated persons, it may be liable for investment losses sustained by its customers. Investors harmed by Richard Michael Wesselt’s actions while registered with The O.N. Equity Sales Company may have a claim against the firm.
If you have lost money with Richard Michael Wesselt, contact New York securities arbitration lawyer Jorge Altamirano of Iorio Altamirano LLP at email@example.com or toll-free at (855) 430-4010 for a free and confidential evaluation of your account.
Iorio Altamirano LLP is a securities arbitration law firm based in New York, NY. We pursue FINRA arbitration claims nationwide on behalf of investors to recover financial losses arising out of wrongful conduct by financial advisors and brokerage firms.