Did you Lose Money investing in Bank of America STEEPLS with Merrill Lynch?

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Erez Law is currently investigating Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith financial advisors across the country regarding recommendations of investments in a structured product called Buffered Strategic Equity Exposure Performance Linked Securities (STEEPLS), offered by Bank of America.

In February 2017, a former Merrill Lynch client won an award in a FINRA arbitration for compensatory damages in the amount of $25,000 for losses sustained from investment recommendations and misrepresentations and omissions of material facts from 2008 to 2010 in connection with STEEPLS. The investors were clients of financial advisor Jimmy Allen Barker (CRD# 2367421).

According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), “Buffered STEEPLS provide you with an opportunity to participate in the potential appreciation of one or more securities or securities indices (the “Underlying Equity”). However, Buffered STEEPLS are only partially principal protected, and the amount that you receive at maturity may be less than the face amount of your Buffered STEEPLS. You may lose up to a specified percentage of your investment in the Buffered STEEPLS. The amount that you receive at maturity will be based upon the level of the Underlying Equity shortly before the maturity of your Buffered STEEPLS.” Buffered STEEPLS is also not listed on any stock exchange.

The customer claimed losses of $400,000. The causes of action included fraud; negligent misrepresentation; breach of fiduciary duty and breach of the covenants of good faith and fair dealing; negligent supervision, breach of conduct, Section 20 violations; and respondeat superior. The FINRA arbitration hearing was conducted in Nashville, Tennessee.

Barker has been registered with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith in Nashville, Tennessee since 2009. Barker has been the subject of two customer complaints between in 2009 and 2015, according to his CRD report:

June 2009. “Claimants allege unsuitable investments in mutual funds, municipal bonds, and structured notes during the time period of September 2006 through August 2008. Alleged damages unspecified.” The case was settled for $150,000.

Pursuant to FINRA Rules, member firms are responsible for supervising a broker’s activities during the time the broker is registered with the firm. Therefore, Merrill Lynch may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by its customers.

Erez Law represents investors in the United States for claims against Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, who is alleged to recommend investments in a structured product called buffered strategic equity exposure performance linked securities (STEEPLS). If you were a client of Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith or another firm, and have experienced investment losses, please call us at 888-840-1571 or complete our contact form for a free consultation. Erez Law is a nationally recognized law firm representing individuals, trusts, corporations and institutions in claims against brokerage firms, banks and insurance companies on a contingency fee basis.

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Author: Jeffrey Erez

The founder of Erez Law, Jeffrey Erez, focuses exclusively on securities arbitration and litigation. Mr. Erez passionately believes in representing aggrieved investors and obtaining justice for his clients through litigation.