Finra Suspends Wells Fargo Broker For Naming Friend As Beneficiary Of Client’s Accounts

A Wells Fargo broker who designated his friend as beneficiary on a customer account has received a 45-day suspension from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority.

Mark Allen Brewer also was fined $5,000 for violation of Finra Rules 3241 and 2010, both of which states that “[a] member, in the conduct of its business, shall observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade,” the regulator said.

He consented to the findings and sanctions without admitting or denying them, Finra said.

Brewer, who has been with Wells Fargo since 2008, began managing two accounts held by a customer whose spouse died in March 2020. Finra said the customer, who considered Brewer a friend, requested that Brewer become the beneficiary of her accounts.

Brewer, in response to the customer’s request, sought Wells Fargo’s approval in April 2020 to be named as beneficiary of the accounts. Wells Fargo denied the request “because the firm prohibits representatives from being named as a beneficiary of any customer account unless the customer is an immediate family member,” Finra said.

Finra said that a year later the customer again asked Brewer to designate himself as beneficiary to her accounts, but he declined. Brewer, however, suggested that the customer submit applications changing the beneficiary to a family friend of Brewer, Finra said. The customer agreed and Brewer submitted the requests to Wells Fargo, but he did not disclose to Wells Fargo that the designated beneficiary was his friend, Finra said. The change was approved by Wells Fargo.

Finra said it became aware of Brewer’s action from a Finra Rule 4530 report filed by Wells Fargo. That report requires firms to report “specified events.” The customer removed Brewer’s friend as beneficiary of her accounts after she was contacted by Wells Fargo, Finra said.

Brewer could not be reached for comment. His suspension starts on June 20, according to BrokerCheck.

He began his career in 1991 at Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith, Inc., moving to A.G. Edwards & Sons Inc., in 2003. He joined Wells Fargo in 2008.

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