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ING Financial Partners, Inc.

Background Information

ING Financial Partners, Inc. (ING), headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, is a subsidiary of ING U.S. ING was formerly Washington Square Securities, Inc. (WSSI). In 2004 WSSI merged with Locust Street Securities, Inc. and changed its name to ING. ING offers financial services to retail and institutional clients, including annuities, retirement plans, life insurance, mutual funds, managed accounts and alternative investments, among other things.

Regulatory Violations

ING Financial Partners, Inc. has been the subject of many regulatory investigations, some which resulted in disciplinary actions by regulators.

Failure to Supervise

In 2008, ING was fined $110,000 by the State of Illinois and agreed to restitution in the amount of $4,567,326.22 for failing to maintain and enforce written procedures to supervise the types of business in which it engages and failing to supervise the activities of its salespersons. Two sales representatives procured funds from investors by telling them that they would be investing in guaranteed investment contracts, mutual bond trusts or other instruments. These investments were never made and the investors’ funds were used for the sales person’s use and benefit. The firm did not adequately supervise these individuals so that the misconduct was uncovered.

Wealth Advantage Financial Retirement Workshops Target Senior Citizens

ING settled with the Utah Division of Securities in 2007 by agreeing to pay a fine of $75,000.00. The Division alleged that ING engaged in securities fraud and failure to supervise under the Utah Uniform Securities Act by misrepresenting and omitting material facts, by allowing a retirement advisor to act as an unlicensed investment adviser, and by approving deceptive and misleading seminar invitations. This came after a sales person conducted several seminars that utilized unapproved materials and included misrepresentations and omissions of material facts relating to variable annuities. This same sales person had several customer complaints against him that alleged he misled that when he sold them variable annuities. The complaints included that the sales person guaranteed the investors could not lose their money, guaranteed them six to seven percent interest per year, assured them that when they purchased new variable annuities from him they would receive “bonuses” to cover any surrender charges they incurred on their existing variable annuities. Most of these investors met the sales person after attending one of his seminars. Even though ING knew of these complaints, they failed to investigate and take corrective action thus failing to adequately supervise their sales person.

Members of Greek Community Victims of Financial Fraud

ING was censured and fined $100,000 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for failure to properly supervise a registered representative who commingled a bank account with personal and client transactions as well as receiving personal loans from brokerage clients. The firm was also ordered to pay restitution of more than $1,000,000 to customers. The representative, who has since fled the country and his whereabouts are unknown, used his Greek heritage and fluency in his native language to defraud investors from the Greek community in eastern Massachusetts. He was able to convince many of his clients to transfer substantial funds to him, supposedly for investment purposes. In many cases, he told his clients that the proceeds would be re-invested in securities. The transactions ranged in terms from three to twelve months and purported to pay a rate of return of between eight and nine percent. He attempted to conceal his fraud by often requiring investors to invest using cash or bank checks in lieu of more easily traceable personal checks. These transactions were not disclosed to ING and were prohibited by ING’s policies and procedures. The representative entered into at least twenty five different agreements with his clients at ING totaling at least $1,000,000. Nearly all of these obligations remained unpaid at the time of the representative’s disappearance.

FINRA Fines and Sanctions – ING Financial Partners, Inc.

Source: FINRA, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. Full Disciplinary Reports Available to the public at: finra.org.

ING Financial Partners, Inc. (CRD #2882, Des Moines, Iowa) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm and four related broker-dealers were censured and fined $1,200,000, jointly and severally. ING was responsible for paying $347,394.96 of the total fine. Without admitting or denying the findings, the firm [ING] consented to the described sanctions and the entry of findings that it violated supervision and email retention requirements. These violations arose from the failure of ING and its fellow respondents to retain and review emails over a period of years. As a result of these failures, millions of emails, affecting hundreds of employees, were either not retained, not reviewed, or not timely reviewed. Millions of emails retained and tagged for supervisory review went unreviewed by supervisory principals. (FINRA Case #2012031270301)

ING Financial Partners, Inc. (CRD #2882, Des Moines, Iowa) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm was fined $1,291,000. Without admitting or denying the findings, the firm [ING] consented to the described sanctions and the entry of findings that it maintained a revenue sharing program in connection with retail sales of mutual funds. In return for payments, mutual funds participating in the program received preferential treatment from the firm in the sales and marketing of their funds. ING received approximately $4.5 million in directed brokerage commissions from the participating mutual funds. (FINRA Case #EAF0400760002)

Silver Law Group

Silver Law Group is a nationally recognized securities and investment fraud law firm with Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ “AV” rated lawyers that handle all securities arbitration matters on a contingency fee basis. The Law Firm, at no cost to investors will review account activity and account statements to determine whether there was any misconduct, whether there are damages and the legal causes of action. We investigate all sales practice violations, while taking into consideration the investor’s age, investment background, and the relationship between the investor and the brokerage firm and its financial advisor. According to securities industry rules and regulations, unsuitable investment advice, securities concentration, fraudulent misrepresentations and omissions of material facts, breach of fiduciary duty, conflicts of interest, variable annuity switching are among the causes of action that may be available to investors in claims for damages against brokerage firms and their financial advisors in a securities arbitration claim filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). We represent investors in FINRA arbitration claims on a contingency fee basis.

To learn more call us at (954) 755-4799 or Toll Free at (800) 975-4345

Client Reviews
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