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Thomas Buck Stockbroker at Merrill Lynch Barred From the Securities Industry

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37350789_sTop-selling Carmel Indiana stockbroker Tom Buck has been barred from working in the securities industry for alleged misconduct that included doing trades for his clients without their knowledge.

Tom Buck was a broker at Merrill Lynch until April 2015, then RBC Capital Markets.  Finra, the self-regulator for the securities industry,  found that Buck engaged in misrepresentations and other misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.  He operated the “Buck Group” with the help of 15-20 additional Merrill Lynch stockbrokers and assistants.  The Buck Group’s customer base was over 800 families, 3,000 accounts, and over $1.3 billion under management.  Some of the accounts had tens of millions of dollars.

The Buck Group generated revenues between $6 million and $10 million each year, with most of that from Tom Buck.  About 80% of the revenues came from commission based activity.

Stockbrokers and firms have a responsibility to consider what fee structure is best for a customer.  The regulators claim that Buck and The Buck Group not only failed to fully assess the suitability of the fee structure for certain clients, but decided to use the commission based accounts when it knew that fee based accounts would be less expensive for the customer.  The regulators note that Buck misrepresented to customers that commission based would be better for them.

Commission based fees are particularly tempting for over-trading and churning because the broker gets a fee on each trade.  Making trades that are unnecessary or just for the sake of trading becomes over-trading and churning, causing damages from fees and often from losing trades, too.  These damages can be complex to show but can quickly affect the value of the account.

The second serious charge is using discretion without oral or written authorization.  Buck at times unilaterally placed trades in customer accounts without getting the customer’s authorization.  This is a significant violation of rules.

Mr. Buck agreed to be barred from the industry.  This is a stunning fall for one of the largest and most profitable Merrill Lynch brokers in the entire company.

We have handled claims involving other prominent Merrill Lynch brokers.  Merrill Lynch, viewing itself as the premier stockbrokerage firm, always hires very excellent defense counsel for its brokers.  Some of these brokers, like Tom Buck, ran groups of brokers that literally handled billions in accounts.  Merrill Lynch does not easily abandon a broker who has done so much for it.  Even with a discipline record that Mr. Buck has, Merrill Lynch is expected to battle vigorously against the payment of The Buck Group claims for damages, and dispute damages.

We have particular and significant experience in handling claims on large accounts, and against prominent Merrill Lynch brokers.  We have the ability to properly describe and quantify damages, so you and your account can be properly compensated.

We are uniquely situated, too, because we are able to meet with clients in Chicago and Indiana, at no additional cost.  We have been to Indiana a lot, including Indianapolis and South Bend, and Chicago.  Of course, Mr. Buck had customers in many states and locations, and we can review matters wherever they are, against Merrill Lynch.

Mr. Buck is now out of the industry, but Merrill Lynch has a clear responsibility for losses in accounts of The Buck Group and Tom Buck.

TAKE THE NEXT STEP

When we take action against stockbroker misconduct, we help level the playing field for all brokers.

If you aware of stock broker misconduct that is not being addressed, contact us:

Fogel & Associates
15260 Ventura Blvd.
Suite 2250
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403-5338
By phone: Call us toll-free at 1 (888) 986-9010
By email: Please fill out the form to the right

Contact StockBrokerLawyer now for a free, confidential review of your losses, and if they can be recovered.  The passage of time is always used as a defense, don’t delay, contact us now by calling (888) 986-9010, or emailing on the form provided.  We will respond as soon as possible, and having an independent no-cost review will help answer your questions.  We never share your personal information with third parties.

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