Angel Wynette Bardeche (also known as Angel Wynette Lentz) of Cincinnati Ohio a stockbroker formerly registered with Ameriprise Financial Services has been fined $10,000.00 and suspended for nine months from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity founded on findings that Bardeche made unsuitable recommendations to customers concerning a short-term mutual fund trading strategy when she was registered with Ameriprise Financial Services. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2019062628701 (Jan. 6, 2021).
According to the AWC, between January of 2017 and March of 2019, an unsuitable investment strategy was recommended and executed in the accounts of Ameriprise customers. During this period, customers were constantly told by Bardeche to effect unsuitable switches of mutual funds. 32 customers followed the stockbroker’s advice.
The regulator noted that in 112 occasions, customers were advised by Bardeche to buy Class A mutual fund shares and then sell those shares early to buy more Class A shares. The stockbroker advised many of the 32 customers to liquidate Class A shares after only holding them for a brief period. FINRA noted 25 instances in which customers liquidated shares only after 12 months, and 49 instances where customers liquidated shares after only 18 months. Bardeche caused customers to pay $450,000.00 in commissions for these switches.
The AWC stated that customers were only recommended expensive short-term switch transactions by the stockbroker. In one case, an elderly investor was told to liquidate Class A shares ten months after purchasing them. That customer was told to invest in more Class A shares with the proceeds. Following this advice led the customer to pay $3,100.00 in additional sales charges. The customer was told eight months later to sell those shares to buy more Class A shares. That produced $2,600.00 more in sales charges for Bardeche.
FINRA determined that Bardeche lacked an adequate basis to conclude that her recommendations were suitable for customers. Her switches and short-term liquidations of Class A shares constituted the violation of FINRA Rules 2010 and 2111(a).
The AWC also noted that Bardeche effected 109 unauthorized transactions in customer accounts. The stockbroker did not have written authorization by Ameriprise Financial Services or her customers to use discretion. Bardeche’s discretionary trading was violative of FINRA Rule 2010 and NASD Rule 2510(b).
FINRA Public Disclosure confirms that Bardeche has been identified in four customer initiated investment related disputes containing allegations of her misconduct while she was employed by Ameriprise. Bardeche is the subject of a customer initiated investment related written complaint which was resolved for $68,500.00 on September 20, 2019 based upon accusations that sales charges were not disclosed by Bardeche as it pertained to her recommended mutual fund purchases.
On September 24, 2019, another customer initiated investment related complaint involving Bardeche’s activities was settled for $138,277.65 in damages supported by allegations of Bardeche omitting the surrender period on a variable annuity that was sold to the Ameriprise customer.
Bardeche is also referenced in a customer initiated investment related written complaint which was resolved for $122,000.00 on October 4, 2019 founded on accusations of the stockbroker’s failure to explain that an annuity carried a surrender charge which would preclude the customer from accessing most of their principal without penalty. On October 14, 2019, another customer initiated investment related complaint concerning Bardeche’s conduct was settled for $51,545.16 in damages based upon allegations of the stockbroker having concealed the terms of a variable annuity.
Bardeche was discharged by Ameriprise on April 18, 2019 supported by accusations of her placing unauthorized trades in Ameriprise customer accounts.