Published on:

Merrill Lynch Broker Named in FINRA Complaint Amid Allegations of Misrepresented Investment Recommendations

Landon L. Williams, a former Daytona Beach, Florida-based registered representative with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, was named a respondent in a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) complaint alleging that he made false and/or misleading statements to customers regarding the securities transactions he was recommending.

According to the FINRA complaint, Mr. Williams ­­­­­­­­­participated in phone conversations with five different customers and allegedly made misleading and/or false statements and/or failed to disclose material information about securities recommendations.  While employed as a Financial Solutions Advisor in the firm’s Merrill Edge Advisory Center (Merrill Edge), Mr. Williams, working in a Merrill Edge call center, allegedly recommended that a customer sell her positions in the Blackrock Core Bond Fund Class C and invest in the Blackrock Funds Diversified Portfolios IV (Growth) Class A.  Mr. Williams allegedly told his client that by switching to the “A” share, she would realize a 2% increase in her annual rate of return.  This statement was alleged by FINRA to be false and misleading. 

FINRA’s complaint goes on to state that Mr. Williams allegedly recommended to another customer to sell his position in the PIMCO Money Market Fund Class C and invest in the Franklin Strategic Income Fund Class C and the Franklin Income Fund Class C.  Mr. Williams is alleged to have told the customer the investment recommendation was an “investment-grade bond fund” and “very conservative” and consisted of “short-term investment-grade bonds.”  These were false representations because the investment recommendation allegedly made by Mr. Williams was not an investment-grade bond fund and was not “very conservative.”

In its complaint, FINRA charges Mr. Williams with violating Section 10(b) of the Exchange Act, Exchange Act Rule 10b-5 and FINRA Rules 2020 and 2010, pertaining to fraudulent misrepresentations in the sale of securities.

Stockbrokers, registered representatives, and other financial professionals have been known to engage in many types of fraudulent and prohibited behavior which are in violation of industry rules and procedures.  In order to protect investors from stockbroker misconduct, FINRA rules require broker-dealers to establish and implement a supervisory system in order to safeguard customer assets.  If broker-dealers and their supervisors fail to establish and implement these protective measures, they may be liable to account holders for investment losses.  As a result, account holders who have suffered losses stemming from a registered representative’s misrepresentations and/or omissions regarding investment recommendations can file a claim to recover damages against broker-dealers, like Merrill Lynch, which have a duty to supervise its employees in order to prevent the above-described misconduct.

Have you suffered losses in your Merrill Lynch account due to your stockbroker’s misrepresentations and omissions or other stockbroker misconduct?  If so, call Robert Pearce at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation.  Mr. Pearce is accepting clients with valid claims against Merrill Lynch stockbrokers who may have engaged in misconduct and caused investors losses.

The most important of investors’ rights is the right to be informed!  This Investors’ Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida.  For over 35 years, Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities and investment law issues.  The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors’ rights throughout the United States and internationally!  Please visit our website, www.secatty.com, post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, or email Mr. Pearce at pearce@rwpearce.com for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.