Customers File Suitability Complaints Against Merrill Lynch Advisor Lisa Wolf

shutterstock_176198786The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Lisa Wolf (Wolf).  According to BrokerCheck records Wolf has been subject to at least six customer complaints.  The customer complaints against Wolf allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, misrepresentations, and excessive trading among other claims.

In April 2015 a customer filed a complaint alleging $364,630 in damage stemming from unauthorized trades and unsuitable investment recommendations from July 2008 through June 2014.  The complaint is currently pending.  In May 2013, another customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investments from May 2008 through March 2009 causing $220,000.  The claim settled.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client.  In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements.  First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors.  Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.

The number of events listed on Wolf brokercheck is high relative to his peers.  According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records.  Brokers must publicly disclose certain types of reportable events on their CRD including but not limited to customer complaints.  In addition to disclosing client disputes brokers must divulge IRS tax liens, judgments, and criminal matters.  However, FINRA’s records are not always complete according to a Wall Street Journal story that checked with 26 state regulators and found that at least 38,400 brokers had regulatory or financial red flags such as a personal bankruptcy that showed up in state records but not on BrokerCheck.  More disturbing is the fact that 19,000 out of those 38,400 brokers had spotless BrokerCheck records.

Wolf entered the securities industry in 1989.  Since July 1999 Wolf has been associated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated out of the firm’s Chicago, Illinois office location.

The investment fraud attorneys at Gana LLP represent investors who have suffered securities losses due to the mishandling of their accounts.  The majority of these claims may be brought in securities arbitration before FINRA.  Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.