Suitability Complaints Against Merrill Lynch Broker Heather Weber

shutterstock_158028338The securities lawyers of Gana LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Heather Weber (Weber).  According to BrokerCheck records Weber has been subject to at least seven customer complaints.  The customer complaints against Weber allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments and misrepresentations among other claims.

In January 2016 a customer filed a complaint alleging $200,000 in damage stemming from unsuitable investment recommendations from 2012 through 2016.  The complaint is pending.  In September 2015, another customer filed a complaint alleging unsuitable investments causing $475,000 in losses from investments made from 2012 through July 2014.  The claim is pending.

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 Weber brokercheck is high relative to her 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.

Weber entered the securities industry in 1997.  Since March 2006, Weber has been associated with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated out of the firm’s Tampa, Florida 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.