Publicly-available records provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on August 1, 2016 indicate that Florida-based Wells Fargo broker/adviser Simon Kopel has been the subject of several customer complaints. The securities and investment fraud law firm Fitapelli Kurta is investigating allegations of misconduct against Mr. Kopel (CRD# 1497729).
Simon Kopel has spent 30 years in the securities industry and has been registered with Wells Fargo Advisors in Fort Lauderdale, Florida since 2011. Previous registrations include Merrill Lynch in Miami, Florida (1994-2011) and Dean Witter Reynolds in Purchase, New York (1986-1994). He is a registered broker and investment adviser with seven US states and territories: Colorado, Florida, Illinois, New York, Oregon, Puerto Rico, and Virginia.
According to his BrokerCheck report, Simon Kopel has received two customer complaints.
In August 2015, a customer alleged Simon Kopel, while employed at Wells Fargo Advisors, did not follow her instructions to process a required minimum distribution associated with a variable annuity product. The complaint resolved with the restoration of a disputed benefit.
In 2004, a customer alleged Simon Kopel, while employed at Merrill Lynch, recommended unsuitable investments. The complaint settled for $30,000.
According to FINRA rules and federal securities law, investment professionals like Simon Kopel must abide by a standard called suitability, meaning they must recommend only investments that are suitable for their clients. Brokers must weigh such factors as the customer’s investment goals, experience, age, income, risk tolerance, and others. They may not misrepresent or omit material facts pertaining to an investment, as misrepresentations or omissions might lead a customer to invest unsuitably. Brokers who fail to recommend suitable investments may be subject to disciplinary action by FINRA or the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Variable annuities are similar to mutual funds, though they have three primary additional features which mutual funds do not: a tax-deferred treatment of earnings, a death benefit, and payout options that can provide guaranteed income for the rest of the investor’s life. One of the common complaints regarding variable annuity investments is that a broker or investment adviser failed to inform an investor about the various sales charges and fees associated with variable annuities. In particular, many aggrieved investors file complaints with investors who, they allege, failed to educate them about a variable annuity’s surrender charge. A surrender charge is a sales fee incurred when investors withdraw money from the variable annuity within a certain period of time after the purchase—typically within six to eight years, though the specific number depends on the product. Surrender charges are typically used to pay a commission to your broker or investment adviser, and are typically a percentage of the amount withdrawn. Brokers who fail to properly educate their customers about a product’s surrender charge may be subject to disciplinary action by FINRA or the Securities and Exchange Commission.
If you or someone you know has a complaint regarding Simon Kopel, call the securities and investment fraud law firm Fitapelli Kurta at 877-238-4175 for a free consultation. You may be able to recover lost funds. Fitapelli Kurta accepts all cases on contingency: we only get paid if and when you collect money. You may have a limited window to file your complaint, so we encourage you to avoid delay. Call 877-238-4175 now to speak to an attorney for free.