The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has fined and suspended former Transamerica registered representatives, Wenru Liang and Jenny Xinfang Feng, who were both accused of helping an elderly customer change her variable annuity policy to designate themselves as beneficiaries, while claiming to be the client’s relatives. This matter originated from a call to the FINRA Senior Helpline.
Liang’s client, an 87-year widow living in an assisted living facility, originally purchased a variable annuity through another brokerage firm and designated her family members as beneficiaries.
According to FINRA, Feng, with Liang present, called the annuity company and pretended to be the client’s granddaughter, and requested a change of beneficiary form to be sent to her personal email address. Neither identified themselves as registered representatives associated with Transamerica, FINRA said.
FINRA claims that the pair helped the client complete the beneficiary change form, which listed four primary beneficiaries with equal 25 percent shares, and falsely represented Liang as the “sister” of client and Feng as the client’s “granddaughter.”
After the client’s family members discovered the change, they complained to Transamerica and had Liang and Feng removed as beneficiaries. Both reps repeatedly denied being named as beneficiaries during multiple internal reviews with Transamerica, FINRA said.
According to their BrokerCheck profiles, Liang and Feng spent eight and six years with Transamerica, respectively, before being fired last August. The pair were each suspended for six months and fined $7,500.