Articles Tagged with Merrill Lynch

AdobeStock_762441-1-300x225If you were recommended a long term care insurance policy by your financial advisor, and that policy has lapsed, you might be able to recover the premiums paid against the brokerage firm who recommended it. Many brokers recommended long-term care insurance policies with promises and representations that the premiums would not change or fluctuate much. In reality, many of the policies purchased had premiums that have skyrocketed in recent years. This means many of the people who were recommended these policies can no longer afford the payments on the premium. This means despite paying tens of thousands of dollars for years, these policies are now worthless. The brokerage firms who peddled these products had a duty and obligation to disclose all material risks, including the fact that the premiums would skyrocket in price. Some of the major policies pedaled by financial advisors at firms like Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, and UBS were Geneworth, Penn Treaty and John Hancock Policies. Many of these policies have now lapsed. In other instances the insurance companies refused to pay out legitimate claims.

If you were recommended long term insurance policies by your financial advisor and these policies have a lapse please contact our Chicago-based securities fraud law firm at 312. 332. 4200 for a no-cost review by an attorney as to whether these losses can be recovered.


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Former Merrill Lynch broker Lyle Boudreaux was accused of making an inappropriate investment, breaching contract, violating state securities laws, negligence and for a client of his suffering losses as a result of an exchange-traded fund position in an advisory account. These are all against securities laws and internal firm rules. A brokerage firm like Merrill Lynch has a duty to its customers to properly monitor and supervise all its employees. If it does not, it can be held liable for losses on a contingency fee basis in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration forum. According to FINRA online records, Mr. Boudreaux was previously registered with Dean Witter Reynolds, PFS Investments, Sterne, Agee & Leach, Fixed Income Securities, Coastal Securities, Merrill Lynch and Sunbelt Securities. He is currently registered with Independent Financial Group in Houston, Texas, and has been since August 2012. He has three customer disputes against him, two of which are currently pending.

AdobeStock_90383187-1-300x194Last week, Merrill Lynch was fined a total of $26 million by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) alleging failures in reporting “suspicious” transactions, according to documentation obtained by Reuters. Allegedly, from 2010 until 2011, the bank failed to properly monitor brokerage accounts for illegal activity, and offered its brokerage clients traditional banking services, such as cash deposits at ATMs and wire transfers to offshore firms, without using screening software to highlight potentially illegal activity. The SEC fined Merrill Lynch $13 million and ordered the bank to cease and desist, alleging that, from 2011 until 2015, its anti-money laundering policies were insufficient to account for the additional risk from such banking services. FINRA is expected to announce and issue a $13 million fine in the next few days. A Miami court has ordered the bank to pay $25 million in a class action settlement related to failures to pass on sales charge waivers on mutual funds.

AdobeStock_1800313-1-300x204The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) today fined Merrill Lynch $1.4 million for failing to establish a reasonable supervisory system and procedures to identify and evaluate extended settlement transactions, and for related rule violations. Extended settlement transactions have a longer time between trade and settlement than routine securities transactions, and therefore involve an extension of credit and exposure to counterparty, credit and market risk. Merrill allegedly failed to collect adequate margin to offset this risk, improperly extended credit to cash-account customers, and miscalculated its outstanding margin and net capital, according to This misconduct occurred from April 2013 until June 2015, and Merrill’s customers engaged in extended settlement transactions with notional values of hundreds of millions of dollars across numerous firm product lines. Merrill’s supervisory system, including written supervisory procedures, was not reasonably designed to identify and evaluate extended settlement transactions for compliance with margin and net capital rules. The bank also improperly extended hundreds of millions of dollars of margin credit in numerous retail customer’s cash accounts. These are all against securities rules.

AdobeStock_33766885-1-300x200A financial advisor from Sayreville, New Jersey was sentenced to three years in prison for stealing a factory worker’s pension that he was supposed to invest. The U.S. Attorney for the District of New York announced on Wednesday that Jesse Holovacko allegedly defrauded his client out of his retirement savings and used the funds for his own benefit. He was convicted on six counts of wire fraud and one count of investment advisor fraud. According to the U.S. Attorney, Holovacko met with factory workers in 2012 and transferred the victim’s pension savings into an IRA. The victim had entrusted Holovacko with managing his retirement savings from December 2013 through August 2014. Holovacko then allegedly falsely told the victim that he would use the retirement account funds to purchase bonds for him and advised the victim to transfer the retirement money to the victim’s bank account and then provide cashier’s checks made out directly to the financial advisor, telling the victim it would be easier to purchase the bonds. Holovacko obtained 18 cashier’s checks totaling $225,000 because of this. He then used the money to pay a car loan, mortgage, dinners out, concerts, baseball game tickets and took out $150,000 in cash. Holovacko also promised the victim documentation of the purported investments in bonds. These were all against securities laws and regulations.
Jesse Holovacko, according to public record with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), was previously registered with UBS in Edison, New Jersey from September 2006 until November 2011, and Merrill Lynch in Edison from November 2011 until September 2014. He has nine customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. He has one criminal disposition against him. He has been permanently barred from the industry.
If you or someone you know suffered money losses with Mr. Holovacko, please call our securities law firm in Chicago at 312-332-4200 today to speak to one of our attorneys. The call is free with no obligation, and attorneys are standing by. We sue firms in the FINRA arbitration forum for not reasonably supervising their brokers while they were registered there. We are based in Chicago and Barrington, Illinois. We only make money if you recover yours.

AdobeStock_123495998-1-300x197Stoltmann Law Offices is investigating Stuart Pearl, a former registered representative with Ameriprise. According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Mr. Pearl allegedly effected securities transactions in a customer’s account on several occasions on a discretionary basis without prior written authority and approval to use discretion. He also allegedly made unsuitable recommendations in a second customer’s account when he recommended the customer use margin to effect several trades. This is in violation of securities rules and regulations. In June 2010, two customers of Pearl’s who were retired and in their 70s, opened a joint brokerage account with him at Ameriprise. Their risk was “conservative” and their objective was “growth and income.” Between September 2011 and March 2012, Pearl recommended that the customers purchase four securities valued at $122,000 on margin. As a result of these purchases, the customers experienced a significant increase in their margin debt balances in relation to their available funds and their account was subject to margin calls during this period.
A broker’s duty is to only recommend and sell those securities that are suitable for every customer based on his net worth, investment objective, risk tolerance and age, among other factors. If he does not recommend and sell suitable investments, his brokerage firms may be liable for losses. Stuart L. Pearl was previously registered with Merrill Lynch in New York, New York from May 1986 until April 2001, Citigroup in Deerfield, Illinois from April 2001 until June 2009, Morgan Stanley in Deerfield from June 2009 until June 2010 and Ameriprise Financial in Deerfield from June 2010 until July 2015. He is currently registered with David A. Noyes in Chicago, Illinois, and has been since July 2015. He has three customer disputes against him, alleging breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of contract, unauthorized trading and use of margin borrowing, among other things.

According to his recent Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Todd Kimm, a former broker with Merrill Lynch, allegedly engaged in unsuitable short-term trading in a customer’s account with respect to closed-end funds and mutual funds. He also allegedly recommended over 100 unsuitable short-term trades of long-term investment products and eight unsuitable mutual fund switches in the same customer account. During the time period of July 2010 through July 2013, Kimm allegedly exercised discretion without written authorization in the same customer account. These are all against securities laws. For this misconduct, FINRA fined him $5,000 and suspended him from the industry for six months.

According to his online, FINRA BrokerCheck report, Mr. Kimm was previously registered with Merrill Lynch in Syracuse, New York from November 1996 until September 2014 and Commonwealth Financial Network in Syracuse from September 2014 until December 2017. He has two customer disputes against him that allege unsuitable investment recommendations, unauthorized trading, unsuitable variable annuity recommendations and sales and excessive trading. He is not currently registered as a broker. Excessive trading is also referred to as “churning,” and is when a broker trades in and out of securities daily, sometimes the same security. It is a particularly egregious misconduct because it typically results in large commissions for the broker, but unnecessary fees for the client. Merrill Lynch can be held liable in the FINRA arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis if it does not reasonably supervise its brokers like Todd Kimm.

Did you or someone you know lose money with John James and Merrill Lynch? Mr. James was barred from the securities industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) after he failed to respond to an investigation against him. He allegedly engaged in undisclosed outside business activities and private securities transactions, without disclosing these to Merrill Lynch, his firm at the time. James was also alleged to have borrowed money from clients, which is not allowed in the securities industry. Merrill Lynch can be held liable for losses on a contingency fee basis in the FINRA arbitration forum, as the firm did not reasonably supervise Mr. James while he was registered there.

According to his online, public BrokerCheck record with FINRA, Mr. James was previously registered with Piper Jaffray in Wayzata, Minnesota from January 2003 until June 2006, Merrill Lynch in Wayzata from June 2006 until March 2016 and Stifel, Nicolaus in Golden Valley, Minnesota from March 2016 until September 2016. He has one customer dispute against him, alleging unsuitable investment recommendations, and is not currently registered as a broker within the industry.

Stoltmann Law Offices is interested in speaking to those investors who have invested with Merrill Lynch broker Charles Friedlander. A recent lawsuit alleges that, clients of Friedlander’s, a retired couple were looking to generate a stable income stream to sustain them through retirement and relied upon Friedlander and the research of Merrill Lynch to select suitable investments that would preserve their capital while producing income. The lawsuit alleges that Friedlander was pushing oil and gas investments in master limited partnerships (MLPs) and allegedly represented them as safe and secure. By 2014, the concentration into energy in their accounts was over 70%. Even though the clients lost money in those investments, Friedlander continued to advise them to invest more money into the oil and gas sector, even though it was not suitable for them based on their age, net worth, risk tolerance and investment objectives. A broker must take these factors into account before recommending or selling any investments, and, if he does not, his brokerage firm may be liable for losses. Oil and gas and energy investments tend to be high-risk and illiquid ones, which, in this case, caused the retired couple to lose over $350,000 of their irreplaceable retirement savings. The lawsuit alleges negligence, negligent supervision, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract.

Mr. Friedlander was previously registered with Lehman Brothers in New York, New York from November 1987 until July 1993, Citigroup in Garden City, New York from July 1993 until June 2009 and Morgan Stanley in Garden City from June 2009 until March 2013. He is currently registered with Merrill Lynch in Garden City and has been since February 2013. He has one customer dispute against him. This is according to his online BrokerCheck report with FINRA.

According to public records with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), former New Haven, Connecticut-based broker John Campeau was accused of failing to disclose fees associated with managed wrap accounts and of selling all of a customer’s stocks without her knowledge. One of the complaints is currently pending. These are against securities laws and internal firm rules, and Merrill Lynch can be held liable for investment losses with John Campeau. Merrill Lynch had a duty to reasonably supervise him while he was registered there. If they failed to do so, they can be sued in the FINRA arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis, which means we only make money if you recover yours.

John Campeau was previously registered with E.F. Hutton & Company from March 1987 until May 1988, Shearson Lehman Hutton in New York, New York from May 1988 until January 1990, Citigroup in New Haven, Connecticut from January 1990 until June 2008 and UBS in New Haven from May 2008 until December 2017. He is currently registered with Merrill Lynch in New Haven and has been since November 2017. He has two customer disputes against him, one of which is currently pending. This is according to his FINRA BrokerCheck report online.

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