According to FINRA’s Disciplinary and Other FINRA Actions publication, former top Merrill Lynch Broker Thomas Buck (CRD #1024868) of Indianapolis, Indiana, was barred by FINRA over numerous allegations of engaging in misrepresentations and other misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.
Allegations stated that Buck held customer assets in commission-based accounts rather than fee-based accounts in order to generate higher revenues. According to FINRA, registered representatives are required to assess the comparative costs to customers of commission-based or fee-based accounts, and discuss those alternatives with their customers, which Buck failed to do. FINRA alleges that Buck not only failed to fully assess the suitability of the fee structure for certain clients, but in fact decided to use commission-based accounts despite knowing that it would have been less expensive for those clients to maintain fee-based accounts. As such, Buck allegedly misled customers regarding the relative costs of commission-based or fee-based trading for their accounts, in order to keep them in higher-cost commission-based accounts.
Furthermore, allegations also stated that Buck exercised discretion and made unauthorized trades in customer accounts without prior authorization from the customers or his member firm, Merrill Lynch. Allegedly, Buck placed trades in customer accounts without obtaining his customers’ consent in advance or even after placing the trade, exercised discretionary authority without obtaining authorization, and placed trades which he assumed the customers would want without obtaining their authorization to do so. As a result of engaging in such conduct, Buck, according to FINRA, directly violated FINRA rules and his obligation to observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade
According to a recently published InvestmentNews Article, Buck has been Merrill Lynch’s top broker in Indiana since at least 2009, overseeing approximately $1.3 billion in assets. Since that time, Buck has allegedly pursued unethical and improper business practices which generated increased revenues and commissions, which in turn enhanced his status as a top-producing broker. Buck has accrued nearly a dozen customer complaints for unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading.
According to FINRA’s Broker Check, Thomas Buck (CRD #1024868) has been permanently barred by FINRA from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public. Buck was registered in the securities industry for thirty three (33) years, and was registered with the following firm(s):
RBC CAPITAL MARKETS, LLC
Registered with this firm since 04/2015
MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH INCORPORATED
12/1981 – 04/2015
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