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FINRA Bars Former Wells Fargo Advisor for Allegedly Churning Customer Accounts

Money in WastebasketOn February 9, 2017, FINRA Enforcement signed off on a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (“AWC”) between FINRA and former financial advisor Matthew C. Maczko (“Maczko” or “Respondent”) (CRD# 1888519).  Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, Mr. Maczko voluntarily consented to an industry bar from associating with any FINRA member firm in any capacity.

Mr. Maczko first became associated with a FINRA member firm in 1988 as a general securities representative under the employ of UBS Financial Services Inc. (“UBS”) (CRD# 8174).  During the course of his career, he worked at UBS for nearly twenty years, and thereafter, from 2008-2016, worked as a registered representative for Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC (“Wells Fargo”) (CRD# 19616).

According to the AWC, “[M]aczko had been terminated on September 2, 2016” by Wells Fargo in connection with the brokerage firm’s “[i]nternal review for adherence to industry standards of conduct based on concerns about the level of trading in a customer account.”  Furthermore, the AWC specifically referenced the following instance of alleged excessive trading, or churning, purportedly conducted by Maczko while affiliated with Wells Fargo:

“Between January 2009 and April 2016, Maczko effected excessive transactions in four brokerage accounts of Customer JZ, who is now 93 years old.  Maczko effectively controlled these accounts, which had an average aggregate value of $3 million.  During this period, Maczko effected over 2800 transactions in these accounts that generated approximately $581,650 in commissions, $84,270 in other fees, and approximately $397,000 in trading losses.  This level of trading was unsuitable for Customer JZ given her investment profile; including her age, risk tolerance, and income needs.  Accordingly, Maczko violated NASD Rule 2310 and FINRA Rules 2111 and 2010.”

Excessive trading, or churning, occurs where: (i) a registered representative exercises control over a customer’s account; and (ii) the level of activity in that account is inconsistent with the customer’s investment objectives, financial situation, and needs.  Excessive trading constitutes a violation of FINRA’s suitability standards set forth under FINRA Rule 2111.

Brokerage firms like UBS and Wells Fargo have a duty to ensure that their registered representatives are adequately supervised.  Brokerage firms must also take reasonable steps to ensure that their financial advisors follow all applicable securities rules and regulations, in addition to internal policies and procedures.  In instances when brokerage firms fail to adequately supervise their registered representatives, they may be held liable for losses sustained by investors.

At Law Office of Christopher J. Gray, P.C., our securities attorneys have successfully resolved a number of disputes on behalf of aggrieved investors, including losses sustained due to instances of fraudulent conduct, excessive trading or churning, and related broker misconduct.  Investors may be able to recover their losses in FINRA arbitration.  Investors may contact a securities arbitration attorney via the contact form on this website, by telephone at (866) 966-9598, or by e-mail at for a no-cost, confidential consultation.

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