Registered representative William Fochi Jr. of Glastonbury, Conn., has settled charges that he inappropriately sold $3.9 million in unregistered equity indexed annuities over eight years while working for Northwestern Mutual Investment Services and dodged detection by listing his wife as the selling agent, according to a Finra letter of acceptance, waiver and consent.

Fochi worked at Northwestern Mutual from October 1987 to March 2020, during which time he registered as an investment company and variable contracts products representative and as a general securities representative.

As part of the settlement, Fochi consented to a four-month suspension and a $10,000 fine, according to the filing.

According to yesterday’s Finra filing, between March 2012 and December 2019, Northwestern’s policies required all registered employees to receive approval before engaging in any outside business or changing the level of participation in that business. In addition, the policies prohibited it representatives from “soliciting, recommending, selling or promoting unregistered equity indexed annuities (EIAs). The policy also prohibited representatives from accepting a referral fee for the sale of an EIA,” the filing stated.

In April 2005, Fochi did obtain approval to sell insurance products outside Northwestern’s network, but the probation against EIAs remained, according to the filing. Yet, from March 2012 through December 2019, Fochi sold EIAs to at least nine customers, all but one of whom were also his Northwestern clients, Finra said, adding that the value of the instruments was about $3.9 million and that, during this time, Fochi did not accurately represent his activities on eight annual Northwestern compliance questionnaires.

“Fochi’s activities were not detected by the firm because his wife, who was an independent insurance agent, was listed as the selling agent,” Finra stated. “Fochi’s wife was listed as the agent on the EIA applications even though certain customers only worked with Fochi in purchasing their EIAs. Fochi received approximately $3,000 personally in commissions and shared in the $350,000 to $400,000 in commissions earned in his wife’s name for EIA sales Fochi made.”

Fochi could not be reached by press time.

On March 13, 2020, Northwestern filed a Form U5 stating Fochi had been allowed to resign after Northwestern discovered “that he violated Firm policy by soliciting and facilitating sales of a product not approved by the firm,” the Finra filing said.

Although Fochi left the firm, he became registered as an investment company and variable contracts products representative again in April 2020, when he joined a firm Finra did not disclose. However, Fochi’s LinkedIn page states from April 2020 through the present he has been working as a wealth management advisor at Fochi Financial Services in Glastonbury, Conn. According to Finra, Fochi remains subject to Finra’s jurisdiction.