Today’s Wall Street Journal profiles a $1.2 million FINRA arbitration claim filed by Stoltmann Law Offices against Merrill Lynch. The article details the abuses engaged in by the firm in selling the Strategic Return Notes to retail investors and our efforts to recover these losses through claims for fraud, unsuitable investment recommendations and lying about the risks associated with these investments (the entire article can be viewed at the following link http://www.wsj.com/articles/sec-readies-case-against-merrill-over-notes-that-lost-95-1466544740). The case centers around secretly recorded phone conversations, secured by Stoltmann Law Offices, of 13 conversations between the Merrill Lynch financial advisors and senior Merrill Lynch executives, including Brian Partridge, head of U.S. product sales for Merrill’s wealth-management division at the time. As alleged in our FIRNA Statement of Claim, the Merrill Lynch advisers were told on the calls not to suggest to their clients the product was flawed. “What you’d love to do is avoid customer complaint,” Mark Ryan, a manager at the firm, told the brokers. “We can’t just tell everyone, ‘Hey this is a defective product.’”
Due to the allegations we made in the Statement of Claim and in working with two major regulators, we were able to get Merrill Lynch fined for these sales practices in the amount of $15 million. Both the Securities and Exchange and FINRA Enforcement fined Merrill Lynch for these abusive practices associated with the structured products (please see here for the SEC Enforcement action https://www.sec.gov/news/pressrelease/2016-129.html and here for the FIRNA Enforcement action https://www.finra.org/newsroom/2016/finra-fines-merrill-lynch-5-million-related-return-notes-sales).
If you’d like to learn how to sue Merrill Lynch for abusive structured product sales, please call our investment fraud firm in Chicago, Illinois.
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