Bernie Adair (CRD#: 1535429), a registered representative with Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD#: 7691) of Jupiter, Florida, became involved in a customer dispute filed on July 15, 2019 in which a client alleges that the broker misrepresented the terms of a variable annuity, per his BrokerCheck record accessed on August 27, 2019. According to the complaint, “The Power of Attorney for client alleges an unsuitable investment recommendation, misrepresentation and improperly completed account documentation concerning a variable annuity.” The claimant is seeking $550,000 in damages.
Variable annuities are complex securities products and are not suitable for every investor. They carry high fees (including surrender fees) and the funds contained within a variable annuity often cannot be accessed without a penalty until an individual reaches a certain age. Still, investment advisors often recommend variable annuities because they generate high commissions for themselves. For more information about variable annuities, see our article “What Is a Variable Annuity?”
The customer complaint filed against Bernie Adair on July 15, 2019 is not the only disclosure on his BrokerCheck report. On August 15, 2011, Merrill Lynch settled a dispute for $45,000 after a customer alleged that Bernie Adair “made unauthorized trades and unsuitable investment recommendations and failed to follow instructions.” The client, who filed the complaint on June 5, 2009, originally requested $750,000 in damages.
On May 13, 2004, a customer alleged that Bernie Adair made unauthorized transactions in her account. The matter was settled for $13,845.06 on June 16, 2004.
On August 14, 2003, a client alleged that Bernie Adair “over-concentrated his account in equities” and made unsuitable recommendations, as well as unauthorized transactions. Merrill Lynch settled the matter for $22,500.
On October 15, 1996, a client filed a customer dispute in which they alleged that Bernie Adair engaged in “unsuitable trading in stocks and mutual funds including unauthorized trades and the use of margin.” Using margin occurs when one borrows money from one’s broker-dealer to invest in new securities; the securities in one’s account serve as collateral. The client requested $100,000 in damages, but Merrill Lynch settled the dispute for $75,000.
Over his 32-year career in the securities industry, Bernie Adair has worked for six firms. In addition to Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD# 7691), he also worked for several firms in the late 1980s and early 1990s. These firms are:
- Dominick & Dominick, Incorporated (CRD#: 7344) of Old Greenwich, Connecticut
- Prescott, Ball & Turben, Inc. (CRD#: 7656)
- Gulfstream Financial Associates, Inc. (CRD#: 19910)
- First American Asset Management Group, Inc. (CRD#: 16661)
- Welco Securities, Inc. (CRD#: 14061
If you’ve invested on the recommendation of Bernie Adair or if you have questions about variable annuities, don’t hesitate to contact the securities attorneys of Fitapelli Kurta. Call (877) 238-4175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for your free consultation.