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

On April 18, 2013, a Boston FINRA arbitration panel ordered Merrrill 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.

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Rex Securities Law

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