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NEWSLETTERS & ALERTS
This Young Broker Struck Out on Integrity
by Howard Haykin
Jason Belajack consents to be barred from the industry to settle FINRA charges that he created 2 fictitious letters, sent on the letterhead of his member firm, to an elderly former customer designed to cover up the fact that he had provided the customer with inaccurate information concerning the features of a variable annuity contract he sold to that customer while associated with another FINRA member firm.
BACKGROUND. Belajack, a resident of Huntington Beach, CA, had 5 years of experience with 4 firms. Prior to joining Lincoln Financial Advisors Corporation, Belajack obtained his Series 6 (Investment Company and Variable Contracts Products Rep) and Series 7 (General Securities Rep) licenses. On 11/4/16, Lincoln Financial U5’d him, disclosing that it had terminated Belajack's association with the Firm for the ''transmittal of two letters to a former customer (not a customer of the Firm) that were not genuine.” Belajack has no previous disciplinary history
FINRA FINDINGS. In June 2014, prior to joining Lincoln Financial and while associated with another FINRA member firm, Belajack sold a variable annuity contract (the "V/A contract") to “PM,” a 74 year old relative who was a customer of Belajack's then employing broker-dealer.
In May 2016, while Belajack was at Lincoln, PM contacted him concerning the V/A contract and asked him about its features, including whether or not it carried with it a principal protection feature. Belajack was aware that, back in 2014, he had provided inaccurate information to PM concerning the V/A contract. Specifically, Belajack realized that he had told PM that the V/A contract offered both a principal protection feature and a guaranteed annual interest rate of 7% - neither of which were true in the V/A contract that PM had purchased.
Rather than inform PM of his error, Belajack took steps to cover it up. On 2 occasions in June and September 2016, Belajack used Lincoln Financial letterhead to create fictitious correspondence to PM purporting to describe, among other things, Lincoln Financial's investigation into the insurance company that issued the VA contract for “unscrupulous and unfair sales practice." The second of the 2 fictitious letters falsely stated that Lincoln FInancial had discovered 300 instances where the V/A company had provided false information to registered reps. Belajack sent both letters to PM in an effort to cover up his earlier misstatements, which he subsequently admitted following discovery.
In early November 2016, Lincoln Financial U5’d Belajack.
FINANCIALISH TAKE AWAYS. I’m all for second chances, but in the securities industry INTEGRITY IS CRITICAL. And Belajack’s early track record, according to FINRA BrokerCheck, created major doubts about his reliability and his integrity – so much so that, if I were running a broker-dealer, I would not hire Belajack for my firm.
Prior to this case, Belajack had compiled 7 disclosures over a 7-year period. Four of the disclosures involved personal financial matters – not a good start. Two others involved negative Form U5 disclosures by Belajack’s prior employers:
- Pruco Securities, 10/16/12: “Registered representative submitted a non-genuine client signature on a life insurance application-related document. Allegations confirmed.”
- LPL Financial, 12/4/12: “Registered representative terminated after the firm became aware of the allegations made by the [RR’s] previous broker-dealer that [RR] submitted a non-genuine client signature on a life insurance application-related document.”
Think about it. Belajack entered the securities industry in November 2010, and within 2 years his integrity was called into question by his first 2 employers. FORGET ABOUT THIS BROKER. THERE ARE MANY OTHERS TO CHOOSE FROM. And forget about the fact that Belajack spent his next 2 years at Accelerated Capital without incident. If he were so good, why would he be looking for his 4th employer? Also, we learn from this case that Belajack lied to his cousin, a client, about a variable annuity contract he sold during his time at Accelerated.
The book on Belajack's career closed by November 2016. THANK GOODNESS, I’m sorry to say.
This case was reported in FINRA Disciplinary Actions for September 2017.
For details on this case, go to ... FINRA Disciplinary Actions Online, and refer to Case #2016051944101.