Posted by BY JEFF ZIMMER : The Herald-Sun on
A Chapel Hill investment advisor who claims to be a Nigerian presidential candidate for the country's 2007 election has been suspended and fined by the National Association of Securities Dealers.
CHAPEL HILL -- A Chapel Hill investment advisor who claims to be a Nigerian presidential candidate for the country's 2007 election has been suspended and fined by the National Association of Securities Dealers.
Akeem Folajimi Bello of 87603 Aycock Drive was suspended for a year and fined $26,718 earlier this year by NASD, the organization that disciplines securities brokers. Bello, who ran a financial planning business, Akeem Bello and Associates in Durham, was sanctioned for making "unsuitable recommendations to public customers," the NASD reported.
In January, Bello, 42, agreed to the sanctions in a consent order, without admitting or denying the allegations. Bello could not be reached for comment Friday.
Giving an aura of oddness to the affair is Bello's personal Web site, where he claims to be a "presidential aspirant" with the New Democrats of Nigeria, a political party founded in Nigeria in 2002.
The group's Web site does not list Bello as a presidential candidate or as an official with the party. However, the organization and some of its executives did visit the Triangle last year, attending church at King's Park International Church in Durham and then a dinner at the Governor's Club, according to pictures and text on the political party's Web site.
While Bello's connections to the New Democrats are uncertain, records with the NASD state that he has been providing financial advice in the Triangle since 1994, when he first registered with the regulatory organization through Equico Securities, which merged with AXA Advisors in Chapel Hill in 1999.
Bello went on to become an independent advisor in December 1999 when he formed Akeem Bello and Associates on University Drive in Durham, according to records on file with the N.C. Secretary of State's office. The company was dissolved in May, the same month the NASD announced its disciplinary actions.
The cases that triggered the NASD's actions occurred between 1996 and 1998, according to the organization.
In five instances over that period, Bello recommended investments in variable annuities and life insurance to consumers who would not benefit from such investments, either because of their age, income levels or personal needs, according to NASD records.
In one instance, Bello recommended a variable life insurance policy to a 72-year-old retiree who already had a life insurance policy and who would pay a substantial portion of his annual adjusted gross income for the new policy's premiums.
Under the NASD order, Bello cannot associate with any NASD member firm for one year and must pay a $26,718 fine before he can join a firm after the suspension period. The fine amount was tied to Bello's inability to pay based on a sworn financial statement, said the NASD order.
Bello has lived in Henderson, Durham and Chapel Hill since at least 1987, according to public records. A graduate of N.C. Central University, where he earned an MBA in 1990, Bello served as a board member of the Durham Civic Center Authority in 2001-02.
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