Sign of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

Adam Gerard Belardino of Elmsford New York a stockbroker formerly registered with MML Investors Services has been charged by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) with failing to cooperate with an investigation in which he was being examined for possible excessive trading in customer accounts. Department of Enforcement v. Adam Gerald Belardino Disciplinary Proceeding No. 2019062347102 (May 12, 2021).

According to the Complaint, on April 16, 2019, FINRA was provided with a Form U5 from MML Investors Services (Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company) in regard to Belardino. The regulator learned that the stockbroker was discharged because of a customer dispute. MML also relayed to FINRA that Belardino was the subject of a different customer dispute alleging that in November of 2018, Belardino made excessive trades in customer accounts, misrepresented information about account values, and refused to cooperate with customers’ requests of having their accounts liquidated.

MML Investors Services updated Belardino’s Form U5 on five occasions to reflect new customer disputes. This included a March 9, 2021 Form U5 amendment indicating that Belardino allegedly sold a real estate investment trust that was not suitable for the customer.

On July 23, 2019, Belardino was asked by FINRA to provide a response to the allegations MML Investors Services made against him. The regulator sought Belardino’s explanation as to why he was terminated, and it expected him to address the nature of the customer disputes as well as other possible customer disputes.

The Complaint alleges that when Belardino responded to FINRA’s request, he said that he was unable to access any documents in regard to the disputes which precluded him from commenting further about them.

On August 26, 2020, Belardino was asked by FINRA to testify in the investigation. Belardino’s lawyer sought a number of extensions to the scheduled appearance. The regulator agreed to postpone his scheduled testimony date to accommodate him. But in November of 2020, the stockbroker was unresponsive when FINRA reached out to him for the scheduled testimony appearance. Belardino never showed up. The regulator made additional attempts at getting Belardino’s testimony but to no avail. Belardino was suspended as a stockbroker after failing to comply with FINRA’s requests.

FINRA Department of Enforcement alleges that Belardino violated FINRA Rules 2010 and 8210 by refusing to cooperate in the investigation.

FINRA Public Disclosure reports that Belardino has been identified in six customer initiated investment related disputes containing accusations of his wrongdoing while employed by MML Investors Services and MSI Financial Services Inc. On May 9, 2019, a customer filed an investment related complaint concerning Belardino’s conduct in which the customer requested compensatory damages founded on allegations that Belardino made misrepresentations to them regarding the features of business development company and variable annuity products. The complaint also alleges that Belardino initiated unauthorized transactions.

Belardino is referenced in another customer initiated investment related written complaint which was settled for $51,133.06 on May 8, 2020 based upon accusations that Belardino misrepresented information in regard to the customer’s variable universal life policy purchase. According to the complaint, the customer was not told about the possibility of the policy lapsing through the nonpayment of premiums.

Belardino is also the subject of a customer initiated investment related written complaint on March 1, 2021 where the customer sought $5,000.00 in damages supported by allegations of the stockbroker selling the customer unsuitable real estate investment trusts given the customer’s conservative portfolio at MSI Financial Services.

On March 3, 2021, another customer initiated investment related complaint regarding Belardino’s activities was resolved for $69,407.68 in damages founded on accusations that unauthorized transactions had been executed by Belardino. The complaint also alleges that the customer’s signature had been forged on insurance and annuity accounts that Belardino solicited while at MML Investors Services.