Victimized Retired Farmer Successfully Alleges That Wells Fargo’s Rochester, Minnesota, Branch Office Recommended High-Risk, Unsuitable Energy Investments
Victimized Retired Farmer Successfully Alleges That Wells Fargo’s Rochester, Minnesota, Branch Office Recommended High-Risk, Unsuitable Energy Investments and That His Financial Advisor, Adam T. Marquardt, Misrepresented the Annual Expenses Incurred in Replacing a Variable Annuity
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – February 14, 2018 — Goodman & Nekvasil, P.A., announces they have won a $121,659.80 FINRA arbitration award against Wells Fargo Advisors Financial Network, LLC (“Wells Fargo”) on behalf of Dennis W. Meyers (“Meyers”), a 69 year old retired farmer who resides in Waltham, Minnesota. Meyers was raised on a farm in Rochester, Minnesota, and operated this family farm until he retired in 2006. Meyers had only a high school education.
Meyers alleged that he opened an account with Wells Fargo (formerly A.G. Edwards and Wachovia Securities) in January 2009 after receiving a cold call from Adam T. Marquardt, a new broker in Wells Fargo’s small Rochester, Minnesota, branch office. Meyers alleged that Marquardt recommended that he invest $206,137.24 in high-risk energy investments. Most of these investments, namely, Atlas Resource Partners, Breitburn Energy Partners, Kior Inc., Linn Energy, Lone Pine Resources, Midstates Petroleum and Pennsylvania Virginia Corp., filed for bankruptcy between 2013 and 2016. Meyers lost $102,940.73 on these investments while his account was with Wells Fargo.
Meyers alleged that these high-risk investments were unsuitable for him and that Marquardt misrepresented the risks of these investments. Meyers also alleged that Marquardt recommended that he replace a John Hancock variable annuity with a MetLife variable annuity, and that Marquardt falsely represented that the annual expenses were lower on the replacement annuity (i.e., the MetLife annuity), when in fact the MetLife variable annuity annual expenses were higher. Meyers sought to recover the $12,915.08 commission charged by Wells Fargo and Marquardt on the MetLife annuity.
An arbitration hearing was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on January 29 – February 1, 2018. The Arbitration Panel found in favor of Meyers, ordering Wells Fargo to pay Meyers the $102,940.73 lost on the energy investments as well as the $12,915.08 commission on the MetLife annuity, for a compensatory award of $115,855.81. The Panel also added interest of $5,504.95 and ordered Wells Fargo to refund a portion of Meyers’ filing fee (i.e., $300) for a total award of $121,659.80.
“Meyers is grateful that the Arbitration Panel did not fall for Wells Fargo’s argument that losses on Meyers’ energy investments should be offset by the gains on his annuity investment,” said Kalju Nekvasil, Esq., of Goodman & Nekvasil, P.A., the Clearwater, Florida, law firm representing Meyers. “Brokerage firms should not be allowed to recommend high-risk investments to retirees with impunity,” says Nekvasil.