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, 800-783-0748, /Web site: / (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




Since New Mexico borders both Colorado and Texas, I am more familiar with its securities laws and regulations and New Mexico arbitrators. Because arbitrators are from the state or region where the investor resides, my familiarity with the arbitrator roster and individual arbitrators in New Mexico and surrounding states is a significant benefit. And remember that I do not need to be licensed in the state of New Mexico in order to represent New Mexico investors in securities arbitrations. I don’t even need to affiliate with local counsel.  I also have the benefit of the knowledge of my husband Douglas Schulz (, who has been hired in over 1,140 securities related matters and testified in over 637 FINRA arbitrations and civil cases regarding investment and brokerage disputes. Because the majority of his expert work is also in Colorado and surrounding states, he too is very familiar with New Mexico securities arbitrators and arbitrations.  

Stoneman Law focuses exclusively on securities arbitration and litigation around the nation and within the State of New Mexico. Many investors lose money and fail to understand how they could have lost their entire nest egg. Some investors blame themselves for not asking questions or double-checking recommendations. The blame, if any, rests with the licensed stockbrokers and brokerage firms. Do yourself a favor and get your accounts into the hands of Stoneman Law, where a forensic analysis will be performed which will explain losses and determine if the losses were a result of misconduct.

Investors in New Mexico are protected by legislative laws and statutes together with industry rules that prohibit brokers from engaging in fraud, unsuitable sales, churning, unauthorized trading, failure to supervise, breach of fiduciary duty, or negligence. Below are useful links and resources covering some of the investor protections available in the State of New Mexico:

Appearances can be deceiving, and financial predators are experts at deception. “Con” is short for confidence and a successful con artist relies on relies on his ability to appear honest and trustworthy even as he cheats you out of your money.

Anyone can become a victim of investment fraud.  You don’t have to be wealthy or live in a big city to be targeted by a con artist.  You may be a sophisticated, experienced investor and still fall for a smooth scam.

Unfamiliar with how our financial markets work, many people don’t know how to research an investment or its seller thoroughly. Many fall prey to affinity group fraud.


·         The New Mexico Uniform Securities Act (link is protects investor from fraud by investment advisors.  The Act specifically allows investors to recover their actual damages, interest, costs and reasonable attorneys’ fees. 


 Affinity fraud, used on the New Mexico Securities Division website, is a term that I have professional experience with.  Affinity fraud is a form of investment fraud in which the fraudster preys upon members of identifiable groups, such as religious or ethnic communities, language minorities, the elderly, or professional groups. The fraudsters who promote affinity scams frequently are – or successfully pretend to be – members of the group.

 I represented dozens of deeply religious, elderly churchgoers in Pennsylvania who were defrauded by the stockbroker son of their preacher.  All of the investors knew the stockbroker very well and trusted him based upon their friendship and the fact that he was their preacher’s son. The stockbroker would pray with the churchgoers while defrauding them.  Fortunately, the stockbroker Robert Glenn Bard was indicted and is currently serving time in prison. The investors pursued their claims against the brokerage firm, not where Mr. Bard worked but rather where he conducted all of the trading – TD Ameritrade. The case, which was filed as a group claim, which is permitted in FINRA arbitrations, resulted in a very nice but confidential settlement.

 Stoneman Law represents investors in all major New Mexico cities including Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, Santa Fe, Roswell, Farmington, South Valley, Clovis, Hobbs, and Alamogordo. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.

Where Do FINRA Arbitrations Take Place in New Mexico?

All arbitrations for New Mexico residents take place in Albuquerque.

And remember that arbitrations take place in the state where the investor resides, NOT where the brokerage firm or stockbroker office!!

 New Mexico Securities News

June 5, 2017. The United States Supreme Court decided a case regarding whether New Mexico  venture capitalist Charles Kokesh must return $35 million from investor funds he used to pay himself and others at his New Mexico-based operation from 1995 to 2009.

 Kokesh moved to Santa Fe from California and operated a handful of technology investment funds. He was active in the community, purchased land west of the city and opened the Santa Fe Horse Park, which was used for polo competitions. He also opened the facility to equestrian riders and hosted an annual Halloween festival on the grounds.

 But after the recession led to the collapse of his funds, Kokesh lost both the horse property and his home in Santa Fe to foreclosure with Los Alamos National Bank. He has since moved to Colorado, according to court filings.