Merrill Lynch Claims It Has Limited Duties to Retail Investors; Securities Arbitration Panel Doesn't Agree, Says Tracy Pride Stoneman, P.C.


By Tracy Pride Stoneman
ATLANTA, Jan. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- The following was released today by Tracy Pride Stoneman, P.C.


A New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) arbitration panel just issued an award against Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER) awarding Eugene Murdock of Augusta, Georgia the total sum of $525,000, consisting of $500,000 in damage, of which $100,000 was designated for attorneys' fees, and $25,000 in costs. Mr. Murdock, a nurse anesthetist, had entrusted his life savings to a stockbroker at Merrill Lynch who was one of his closest friends. There is something that should be alarming to many investors in how some brokerage firms respond to arbitration claims of wrongdoing. Some firms state in writing that their duties are limited to properly executing the order and not much else. Such a claim stands in stark contrast to the myriad of ad campaigns wherein these full service brokerage firms boast that they can advise investors in every aspect of their financial needs. But behind the closed doors of securities arbitrations, brokerage firms and their defense counsel present a different face. In this case, Merrill Lynch actually put in writing in a legal document that it filed in the case the following language: * "When a non-discretionary securities account is involved, the broker's duty is limited to executing the order properly." * "Moreover, a broker does not have any responsibility to his customer after the transaction is complete" * "A broker has no continuing duty to keep abreast of financial information that may affect his customers' portfolio, or to inform his customers of developments that could influence their investments." Merrill Lynch has asserted these defenses in several cases Ms. Stoneman has brought against the firm. Most investors have non-discretionary accounts, meaning the broker must first discuss the trade with the client. Discretionary accounts are the exception to the rule. Hopefully, the arbitration panel's award will send a message to brokers and brokerage firms that their duties go far beyond being order takers like the online firms. Tracy Pride Stoneman represents a number of investors who have lost money due to the wrongdoing of brokerage firms and has, in the past, been responsible for recovering millions of dollars in stock market losses for her clients. If you have experienced problems with your broker or you have questions concerning your rights or this notice, please contact: Tracy Stoneman

Like many cases in arbitration these days, Merrill Lynch and the broker concentrated Mr. Murdock's portfolio in stocks and worse yet, in more aggressive sectors of the market. As his portfolio plummeted in value and Mr. Murdock voiced concerns and became physically sick over the losses, the broker's continual refrain was, "Stay the course. It will come back."

Tracy Pride Stoneman 301 Snowcrest Westcliffe, CO 81252 719-783-0303or email Ms. Stoneman  SOURCE Tracy Pride Stoneman, P.C. -0- 01/12/2005 /CONTACT: Tracy Pride Stoneman, Esquire, +1-719-783-0303, Tracy@investorfraud.com/ /Web site: http://www.investorfraud.com / (MER) CO: Tracy Pride Stoneman, P.C.; Merrill Lynch ST: Georgia IN: FIN SU: LAW BF-BM -- LAW084 -- 5132 01/12/2005 16:12 EST http://www.prnewswire.com