Paul Vizanko (Paul Warren Vizanko CRD:#2572222) is a former broker and investment advisor last employed with Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC (CRD#:19616) of Duluth, MN. He was previously employed with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD#:7691), also of Duluth, MN, Wells Fargo Investments, LLC (CRD#:10582) of Grand Rapids, MN, and Miller Johnson Steichen Kinnard, Inc. (CRD#:694) He has been in the industry since 1995.
Wells Fargo discharged Vizanko on 1/26/2021 after he borrowed money from a client. Additionally, Vizanko received a cash gift from a different client, and was also named a beneficiary of the second client’s trust. Vizanko failed to notify the firm of these funds, then misappropriated those funds.
After FINRA requested information related to his termination, Vizanko failed to respond to two letters dated May 26, 2021 and June 21, 2021. FINRA issued a suspension from any association with a FINRA member, which Vizanko failed to address by requesting within three months of the date. As of August 30, 2021, Vizanko is indefinitely barred from any affiliation with a FINRA member. This ruling is final.
On August 12, 2021, a customer filed a dispute alleging that from September 23, 2015 through December 22, 2020, Vizanko cashed checks that were made out to him but intended for the client. No damage amount is listed, and no other information is available. This claim is pending.
Brokers Not Supposed To Be Beneficiaries Of Customer’s Estate
According to FINRA Rule 3241 brokers are generally not supposed to be a beneficiary of their client’s estate, unless the customer is an immediate family member. The rule went into effect in February, 2021, and prevents persons registered with FINRA-associated firms from becoming beneficiaries, executors, trustees, or from having any powers of attorney or other “position of trust” for any of their clients. The intent was to set uniform standards for registered persons.
Many brokerage firms already had policies requiring written notification and approval by the firm for the broker to be a beneficiary of their client’s estate. The registered individual is required to decline the if the firm does not approve.
Brokers and financial advisors often have a close relationship with their clients, some of whom are elderly and experience diminished mental capacities, so there is the potential for the broker to exercise undue influence on their customer. FINRA’s concern for investors and the potential for conflicts of interest brought about Rule 3241’s adoption.
The special arrangements that involve brokers/advisers misappropriating money from a client or becoming a beneficiary of their estate may go unnoticed by surviving family members, other beneficiaries, or the firm for years.
Did You Invest With Paul Vizanko?
Silver Law Group represents investors in securities and investment fraud cases. Our lawyers are admitted to practice in New York and Florida and represent investors nationwide to help recover investment losses due to stockbroker misconduct. If you have any questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. Most cases are handled on a contingent fee basis, meaning that you won’t owe us until we recover your money for you. Contact us today at (800) 975-4345 and let us know how we can help.