FINRA Variable Annuity and Private Placement Fraud Arbitration Attorney, Russell L. Forkey, Esq.
Cynthia Ann Bulinski (CRD #1851735, Registered Representative, Annapolis, Maryland, formerly licensed with J.W. Cole Financial, Inc.) submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which she was barred from association with any FINRA member in any capacity. Without admitting or denying the findings, Bulinski consented to the described sanction and to the entry of findings that she made unsuitable recommendations to her elderly clients to purchase variable annuities. The findings stated that Bulinski repeatedly failed to tailor her recommendations to meet her customers’ individual investment needs, and instead recommended the same variable annuity to her customers, irrespective of age, investment experience, liquidity needs, financial situation and risk tolerance. The findings also stated that Bulinski recommended elderly customers to purchase the same variable annuity with an enhanced death benefit rider, but demonstrated that she did not have reasonable basis for her recommendation because some of the customers were too old to purchase the rider and the rest gained little, if any, benefit from the rider while paying a substantial cost for it. The findings also included that Bulinski recommended unsuitable variable annuities with a rider that was inconsistent with her customers’ investment objectives.
FINRA found that in numerous instances, Bulinski demonstrated that she did not understand the variable annuity and inaccurately described the investment to a customer as a fixed annuity rather than a variable annuity, and with other customers, incorrectly stated the surrender period and surrender charges her customers would incur. FINRA also found that Bulinski was the subject of several written customer complaints about her lack of disclosure about surrender charges and other product details. (FINRA Case #2005002244704).