Merrill Ordered to Pay Customer $82k on Van Kampen Strategic Muni Bond Fund

On April 18, 2013, a Boston FINRA arbitration panel ordered Merrill Lynch and broker Michael Sperlinga, to pay a customer over $82,000 plus interest from 2009, for losses incurred on Van Kampen Strategic Municipal Inc. bond fund.

In Case # 10-519, the customer alleged negligence, suitability, failure to diversify and failure to supervise and requested over $282,000 in total damages.

In an explained unanimous decision the arbitrators found that Merrill and the customer shared responsibility for the losses int he customer’s account and concluded the customer was 45% to blame and Merrill was 55% at fault.  The decision went on to discuss the fact that the customer was not the most sophisticated investor and that the broker should have explained that by recommending junk bonds to gain higher income, he was also subjecting the customer to higher risk.

The broker was on “heightened supervision” status for prior issues and therefore Merrill had a greater duty to supervise him, and failed to do so.

If you believe you are a victim of stockbroker fraud or negligence, you may be able to recover losses through FINRA arbitration which is much quicker and less costly than litigation in court. Most cases are done on a contingent fee basis and are generally completed in a year or less.

If you have questions or complaints about losses in your brokerage account, call us for a no charge consultation.

Rex Securities Law , located in Boca Raton, FL, provides representation to  investors  nationwide who are seeking recovery of investment losses due to the negligence or fraud of stockbrokers and broker dealers. If you have questions about how your account has been handled, call to speak with an experienced securities attorney. Most cases handled on a contingent fee basis meaning that you do not pay legal fees unless we are successful.

Rex Securities Law

561 391 1900