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Merrill Lynch’s Robert Brown Terminated after $4.25 Million Complaint
Merrill Lynch fired Birmingham, Alabama-based representative Robert Brown (CRD# 1148258) following the settlement of a customer complaint for more than $4 million. Formerly of the firm’s Brown Israel Wealth Management shingle, he is currently registered as an investment adviser with RFG Advisory in Vestavia Hills, Alabama.
A disclosure on Mr. Brown’s BrokerCheck report states that in June 2021, a customer filed a complaint alleging “unsuitable sales transactions and misrepresentations from November 2019 until November 2020.” The complaint concerned an investment in options, settling in October 2021 for $4,250,000.
Merrill Lynch terminated Mr. Brown one month after the complaint settled, in November 2021. According to a disclosure about the termination, it concerned allegations of an unsuitable investment strategy, misrepresentations made to a client, and “failure to follow firm instructions related to business communications.”
A December 2021 report by AdvisorHub describes Mr. Brown as a 38-year veteran of Merrill Lynch. Both he and the firm declined to comment about the story. It identifies the customer who filed the complaint as an acupuncturist based in Birmingham, Alabama, who also declined to comment. It does note, however, that Mr. Brown’s termination places him in a growing number list of investment representatives to “run into trouble in a year in which pandemic-related claims and outside business activities have cost several top producers at big firms their jobs.” Others described by AdvisorHub a JP Morgan representative with “$62.3 million worth of pending customer complaints” and another former Merrill Lynch representative who left the firm after it launched an inquiry into potential “unapproved outside business activities or private securities transactions.”
According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Robert Brown holds 38 years of securities industry experience. His employment history as a broker only includes Merrill Lynch, where he was registered from 1983-2021. He is presently registered as an investment adviser with the Vestavia Hills office of RFG Advisory, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, where he has been registered since November 2021. His credentials include the passage of four securities industry examinations: the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination, or Series 65; the Uniform Securities Agent State Law Examination, or Series 63; the Securities Industry Essentials Examination, or SIE; and the General Securities Representative Examination, or Series 7. He is not presently licensed as a broker with any US state. (Information current as of March 3, 2022.)
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