Investment fraud lawyers are currently investigating claims on behalf of customers of the Phil Scott Group and Merrill Lynch regarding the unsuitable recommendation of investments. Walter Schlaepfer, also known as Phil Scott, and the Phil Scott Group reportedly worked out of the Merrill Lynch branch office in Bellevue, Washington.
At least six customer complaints have been filed against Scott since 2008, according to the Phil Scott Group’s securities license. All of these complaints allege that Scott made misrepresentations and/or unsuitable recommendations of investments.
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority rules have established that brokers and firms have an obligation to fully disclose all the risks of a given investment when making recommendations, and those recommendations must be suitable for the individual investor receiving the recommendation given their age, investment objectives and risk tolerance. Furthermore, brokerage firms must, before approving an investment’s sale to a customer, conduct a reasonable investigation of the securities and issuer. In addition, securities arbitration lawyers say firms like Merrill Lynch have a duty to properly supervise their brokers and can be held liable for broker misconduct if they fail to do so.
So far, Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panels have awarded around $3.7 million to Phil Scott Group customers as a result of complaints filed since 2008. Most recently, FINRA ordered Merrill Lynch and Phil Scott to pay compensatory damages of $1,100,000, attorneys’ fees of $540,144 and other costs of $74,341 for the unsuitable recommendation of a client’s 100 percent asset investment in the Merrill Lynch Phil Scott Team Income and Blue Chip Portfolios. According to investment fraud lawyers, both of these investments consisted entirely of equities and were unsuitable for the client. The claim also alleged that Merrill Lynch did not adequately supervise the Phil Scott Group.
If you suffered significant losses as a result of the unsuitable recommendations of the Phil Scott Group, you may be able to recover your losses through securities arbitration. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact a securities arbitration lawyer at The Law Office of Christopher J. Gray at (866) 966-9598 for a no-cost, confidential consultation.