Investment attorneys are investigating potential claims on behalf of investors against Merrill Lynch and the Phil Scott Team. Over the last seven months, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has awarded defrauded investors, in two separate securities arbitration proceedings, around $2 million. The $2 million awarded includes compensatory damages, attorney’s fees, forum fees, costs and interest. The first case, decided in June 2011, resulted in an award to claimants of around $880,000. The second case, decided in January 2012, resulted in an award to claimants of about $1.2 million.
According to claimant allegations, Phil Scott (a/k/a Walter Schlaepfer) recommended they place their assets in portfolios which were invested in 100 percent equities, an unsuitable recommendation. The portfolios recommended were the Merrill Lynch Phil Scott Team Portfolios. In addition, one claimant had pledged nearly two-thirds of the portfolio to three different Merrill Lynch loans, increasing the risks associated with the portfolio and leading to a forced liquidation of securities as a result of the declining market value on the account.
Two claimants, Douglas and Kristin Mirabelli, claimed Scott’s broker misconduct included breach of fiduciary duty and misrepresentation. The Mirabellis’ case, decided this month, was the case in which $1.2 million was awarded by the FINRA Arbitration Panel. According to one of the Mirabellis’ attorneys, Scott should have diversified the claimants’ money rather than placing it into the Merrill Lynch Phil Scott Team Income Portfolios.
Breaches in fiduciary duty, unsuitable recommendations and misrepresentation are serious violations that can result in significant losses for investors. Investors in Merrill Lynch and the Phil Scott Team who suffered significant losses on their investments may have a valid securities arbitration claim. To find out more about your legal rights and options, contact an investment attorney at The Law Office of Christopher J. Gray at (866) 966-9598 for a no-cost, confidential consultation.