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Investor Claims Adam Belardino Recommended an Unsuitable Investment Strategy

Dec 28, 2021 Investor Disputes

Adam Belardino (CRD #5221927), a broker formerly registered with MML Investors Services, is involved in an investor dispute, according to his BrokerCheck record, accessed on November 26, 2021.  

Investor Allegations 

On October 29, 2021, an investor filed a dispute against Adam Belardino. According to the investor's allegations, instead of telling the client how he could improve the viability of his existing universal life insurance policy, Adam Belardino recommended a new term life policy and advised the client to fund it by taking withdrawals from his variable annuity. The client wants all of the premiums that he paid into the term life policy returned to him. The dispute is still pending. Variable annuities are complex investments and are difficult for even experienced financial professionals to manage.  

A broker must have exercised due diligence and have an adequate reason for believing that an investment will also be suitable or beneficial for the investor. Under FINRA Rule 2111, registered brokers may be held liable if they provide an unsuitable investment recommendation or strategy that leads to losses.

Pending Disputes 

On March 1, 2021, Adam Belardino was involved in a dispute alleging he recommended REITs in 2014 that were unsuitable for his client's portfolio, in violation of FINRA Rule 2111. If you lost money in unsuitable REITs, you might have a viable claim against your broker, and you should not hesitate to contact the securities attorneys of Kurta Law. 

Settled Disputes 

Misrepresentation of a VUL  

On April 9, 2020, a dispute was filed against Adam Belardino, alleging that he misrepresented a Variable Universal Life policy purchased in 2017. According to the investor, Adam Belardin never explained to him that the policy could lapse if he failed to pay the premiums. The case was settled for $51,133.06.   

FINRA Rule 2020 prohibits brokerage firms and stockbrokers from making material misrepresentations or inducing people into buying investments with false statements about their potential benefits. Losses attributed to a stockbroker's material misrepresentations of facts may result in a viable securities arbitration claim for damages.  

Unauthorized Transactions and Forgery 

On May 2, 2019, a dispute was filed against Adam Belardino, alleging that he conducted unauthorized transactions and solicited new accounts under false pretenses using forged signatures. The damage amount requested was $5,000.01. The case was settled for $69,407.68.  

Forgery is inconsistent with just and equitable principles of trade and violates FINRA Rule 2010.  

Misrepresentations and Excessive Trading 

On March 18, 2019, a dispute was filed against Adam Belardino, alleging misrepresentation, excessive trading, and failing to comply with a client's requests to have their accounts liquidated and the proceeds distributed. The damage amount requested was $5,000.01. The case was settled for $1,537,066.34. 

As a result of his alleged conduct, Adam Belardino violated  FINRA Rule 2020, which prohibits stockbrokers from making material misrepresentations, FINRA Rule 2111, which prohibits excessive trading and FINRA Rule 2010, which requires all registered members to observe high standards of commercial honor and just principles in their business dealings. 

Regulatory Disclosures  

Between 2020 and 2021, Adam Belardino was the subject of two regulatory actions.  

FINRA Bar 

On May 12, 2021, Adam Belardino consented to a FINRA bar after he was named a respondent in a FINRA complaint alleging that he failed to appear for on-the-record (OTR) testimony requested by FINRA during the course of an investigation initiated after his member firm (Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company) submitted a Form U5 disclosing that they had terminated him in connection with customer complaints it was reviewing. 

According to the findings, the customer complaints included allegations that Adam Belardino had misrepresented account values, traded excessively, and did not liquidate accounts as requested by his customers. FINRA requested an on-the-record testimony after initially receiving only a partial response to its request for information pursuant to FINRA Rule 8210. FINRA reportedly rescheduled the OTR testimony for another date; however, Adam Belardino again failed to appear for the OTR testimony. 

By refusing to produce all the information and documents requested in accordance with FINRA Rule 8210, Adam Belardino also violated FINRA Rule 2010. 

A violation of FINRA Rule 8210 is also a violation of FINRA Rule 2010, which requires member firms and their associated persons to "observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade." 

You can read a copy of the AWC here. 

FINRA Suspension 

Pursuant to FINRA Rule 9552 and in accordance with FINRA's Notice of Suspension letter dated December 23, 2020, Adam Belardino was suspended on February 16, 2021, from associating with any FINRA member firm in all capacities. 

FINRA Rule 9552 applies in situations where a brokerage firm or representative has failed to provide information or keep information current. FINRA Rule 9552 is a Notice of Suspension if corrective action is not taken.  

Employment Termination  

On March 25, 2019, Adam Belardino was discharged from his position at Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company in connection with investigations into a customer complaint. 

Background Information 

Adam Belardino has passed the following exams: 

  • Series 63 - Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination 
  • SIE - Securities Industry Essentials Examination 
  • Series 7 - General Securities Representative Examination 

Adam Belardino has also worked with the following firms: 

  • MSI Financial Services (CRD#:14251) 
  • Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (CRD#:4095) 
  • Metlife Securities (CRD#:14251) 

Kurta Law Can Help 

If you have worked with Adam Belardino and have concerns about your investments, don't hesitate to contact us today at 877-600-0098 or info@kurtalawfirm.com for a free consultation. 

For nearly 20 years, Kurta Law has advocated for investors to recover their investment losses from brokers and brokerage firms. Kurta Law is a nationally recognized law firm and exclusively represents investors against brokers and brokerage firms on a contingency basis. This means that the firm only earns a fee if our securities attorneys recover money on your behalf.