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Bhenoy “Ben” Dembla: Former Merrill Lynch Adviser Barred by Regulator

Former Illinois Merrill Lynch broker and investment adviser Bhenoy “Ben” Dembla (CRD# 4357042) was barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in February 2019 over allegations he created “fictitious mutual fund sell orders.” Additionally, customer complaints filed against Dembla allege excessive trading and unsuitable investments, including in unit investment trusts (UITs) and mutual funds. He was based in Chicago, Illinois.

The February 2019 disciplinary action against Bhenoy Dembla concerns allegations he placed and then canceled “fictitious mutual fund sell orders” with the goal of avoiding his member firm’s restrictions, as well as those of mutual fund issuers, on “the amount of Class B shares an investors can own.” His actions allegedly caused customers of his member firm to exceed these restrictions “by a total of $863,000,” and his firm later paid affected customers more than $31,800 in restitution. FINRA’s findings additionally state that through the above actions, Mr. Dembla caused his member firm to “maintain inaccurate books and records,” specifically regarding his clients’ sales of Class B shares, in violation of FINRA rules. These actions resulted in Mr. Dembla’s indefinite bar from associating with FINRA member firms in any capacity.

Ben Dembla allegedly made excessive transactions and unsuitably recommended certain unit investment trust securities, according to a customer complaint filed in 2017 concerning his employment at Merrill Lynch. This complaint reached a 2018 settlement of $95,000. He also allegedly made unsuitable investment recommendations of unit investment trust and closed-end trust products, according to another 2017 customer complaint concerning his employment at Merrill Lynch. This complaint reached a settlement of $167,000. He also allegedly made unsuitable recommendations of unit investment trust and mutual fund investments, according to an additional 2017 customer complaint concerning his conduct at Merrill Lynch. This complaint reached a settlement of $110,000.

Dembla also has an employment termination in his past. Specifically, he was terminated from Merrill Lynch in 2016, over allegations involving the circumvention of mutual fund share accumulation limits that led to his 2019 FINRA sanction. FINRA records state that these alleged actions caused the loss of management confidence in Dembla.

Dembla also allegedly recommended unsuitable investments to a customer, according to a 2016 customer complaint regarding his employment at Merrill Lynch. This complaint reached a settlement of $200,000.

Bhenoy Dembla is not presently registered with any FINRA member firm. His most recent registration, and the only registration listed on his FINRA BrokerCheck report, was with Merrill Lynch in Chicago, Illinois from 2001 until 2016. He has passed three securities industry qualification examinations and is also known as “Ben Dembla.” (Information current as of August 7, 2019.)

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