New York, NY – December 1, 2016 — The Securities Arbitration Law Firm of Klayman & Toskes, P.A. (“K&T”), www.nasd-law.com, announces an investigation into Merrill Lynch, a wholly owned brokerage firm of Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), for Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sales practice violations from its Loan Management Accounts (LMAs) following FINRA regulatory fines. Yesterday, FINRA accepted from Merrill Lynch an Acceptance Waiver and Consent for $6.25 million in fines and approximately $780,000 in restitution to Puerto Rico customers, for inadequately supervising the use of Merrill Lynch loans for customer accounts. According to FINRA, Merrill Lynch brokerage accounts received proceeds transferred from LMAs and purchased millions of dollars in securities, the majority being purchased on margin, within 14 days of the transfer. FINRA concluded that these supervisory failures occurred from January 2010 to November 2014.
According to K&T founder, Lawrence L. Klayman, Esq. “The use of brokerage account assets as collateral for these loans greatly increased the risks assumed by Merrill Lynch customers.” Mr. Klayman explains, “Our firm is investigating sales practice violations by Merrill Lynch for failure to supervise its financial advisors’ recommendations to customers concerning the use of LMA proceeds to purchase stock on margin. Merrill Lynch’s advice to use margin loans signals a potential conflict of interest, which increased commissions for their financial advisors at the expense of customers who did not fully understand the risks associated with these loans.”
The sole purpose of this release is in furtherance of our investigation into Merrill Lynch’s sales practices related to Loan Management Accounts (LMAs) which may include violations for unsuitable recommendations, margin abuse, breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentations and omissions of material facts and a failure to supervise. Current and former Merrill Lynch customers who have information about the sales practices of Bank of America and its brokerage firm, Merrill Lynch are encouraged to contact Lawrence L. Klayman, Esq. or Raymond Gentile, Esq. of Klayman & Toskes, P.A. at (888) 997-9956, or visit our website at www.nasd-law.com.