Financial services expert witnesses may evaluate financial investments and securities transactions to determine whether financial fraud has taken place. In financial news, the SEC announced that Merrill Lynch will pay a $10 Million penalty for misleading investors in structured notes. Marketwatch.com reports that the Merrill Lynch Strategic Return Note “fell as much as 95% in value and was marketed in a way that one of the firm’s financial advisers called “borderline crooked,” people close to the probe said.”
- SEC Press Release 2016-129, June 23, 2016:
- The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Merrill Lynch has agreed to pay a $10 million penalty to settle charges that it was responsible for misleading statements in offering materials provided to retail investors for structured notes linked to a proprietary volatility index…
- The notes were issued by Merrill Lynch’s parent company Bank of America Corporation, and Merrill Lynch had principal responsibility for drafting and reviewing the retail pricing supplements. The SEC’s order finds that Merrill Lynch did not have in place effective policies or procedures to ensure its personnel drafted and approved disclosures that adequately disclosed the impact of the execution factor.
Two former Merrill Lynch brokers, Glen Ringwall and Mark Manion, sent a whistleblower complaint to the SEC. Whistleblowers may be eligible for an award when they voluntarily provide the SEC with unique and useful information that leads to a successful enforcement action. Whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.
Financial services expert witnesses in cases such as this provide unbiased analysis in wealth management, forensic accounting, stocks and bonds, investment funds, fraud examination, financial reporting, and other disciplines that are related to finance. They are experienced in evaluating financial brokerage firms as well as financial advisors.