Barry Barlow: Beaten Down by His Evils?
Beware of Barry Barlow Merrill Lynch. He is a crooked financial advisor who preys upon affluent individuals and families by trapping them in unfavorable agreements.
The finance industry has all kinds of professionals and Barry is among the most unethical ones. His firm’s disclosures have many problematic provisions that expose his clients to unwarranted risks.
The following review gives a detailed overview of the terrible terms and conditions present in Barry’s disclosures:
Who is Barry Barlow Merrill Lynch?
While Barry is the managing director of his firm, other notable people at his firm are:
- M. Christine Book (Wealth Management Associate)
- Amy Sibley Jones (Senior Wealth Planner)
- Chris C. McIntosh (Senior Investment Manager)
- Frank Barlow (Senior Investment Manager)
Barry claims that he helps his clients produce lifetime income and wealth that they can pass onto their future generations. His firm claims to focus on building solid relationships and maintaining open communication. They also claim to offer dedicated and personalized service.
Additionally, the firm claims to focus on assessing risk, preserving wealth, and identifying goals to create customized wealth strategies.
Some of the many services they offer here include:
- Disability insurance
- Trust & estate planning services
- Exchange funds
- Securities-based lending
- Succession planning
- Home loans
- Securities-based lending
- Donor-advised funds
- Concentrated stock management
- Fixed income products
- Alternative investments
Did You Know?
A Donor Advised Fund is a sort of charitable giving account that allows to make donation to any public trust.
At first, these claims and promises seem genuine. But when you look at the fine print of his agreements, you realize that Barry Barlow Merrill Lynch is a liar. Most of these claims are false as the only thing this firm cares about is its profit.
The next section of this review will shed more light on these issues so you can understand why you shouldn’t do business with Barry:
Issues Barry Barlow Merrill Lynch Tries to Hide from You
Barry’s History of Misrepresentation
The FINRA BrokerCheck listing of Barry Barlow Merrill Lynch shows one legal dispute. This dispute occurred in 2014. Here, the client alleged misrepresentation regarding fees from November 2008 to February 2014.
They settled the case for $9,940.70.
Barry hasn’t shared any additional details on the dispute. So, you can’t find out why they settled the case suggesting that Barry was indeed guilty of misrepresentation.
This is a huge issue. It means that Barry Barlow Merrill Lynch has a history of misrepresenting his clients. Note that most of his clients would be unaware of this dispute or their own misrepresentation.
His following disclosures suggest why he is prone to misrepresent clients.
Charging Hidden Fees
One small detail present Barry’s disclosures is that his firm offers products that charge 12b-1 fees. The 12b-1 fee is among the many fees you pay as an investor. But what separates it from the rest is the reason why you pay this fee.
Unlike other fees, this is a marketing fee which companies give to advisors for promoting their investment products.
When you pay a 12b-1 fee, you don’t get anything back from it. The 12b-1 fee inflates the cost of a security without offering anything in return.
According to an SEC study, securities that charge 12b-1 fee offer the same returns as those that don’t charge this fee. Moreover, the ROI of the investments that charge this fee is worse.
Earning Commissions from Products
Barry Barlow Merrill Lynch earns commissions from the sale of proprietary and affiliated securities. This means the selection of investments he recommends is limited to the ones that generate commissions. His firm has no incentive to recommend an investment that doesn’t generate any commissions regardless of how great it is for you.
Moreover, some of the proprietary investment products would produce higher commissions than others. So, they would get preferential treatment over others.
In such cases, an advisory firm recommends higher commission-generating products more than others. Earning commissions from investments makes the advisor biased.
They would suggest you investments not on the basis of their suitability but on the basis of how much commission they produce. Hence, you have a very high chance of getting poor or unsuitable recommendations from such advisors.
Clients of such advisors tend to miss out on many promising investing opportunities simply because they don’t generate commissions for their advisor. By the time an investor realizes how much they have missed out on, it’s too late.
Furthermore, you can’t hold the advisor responsible for making unsuitable recommendations. They would simply mention that they discussed everything in detail and you agreed to the investments yourself.
If you’re looking for a professional and ethical wealth advisor, ignore Barry Barlow Merrill Lynch. You’d be better off with a different advisor as this one has too many issues.
With Barry, you’d pay extra for getting the same returns you’d get elsewhere. Moreover, Barry has a lot of monetary incentive for giving unsuitable recommendations.
Due to these reasons, avoid him.
Barry Barlow Merrill Lynch has too many red flags to be deemed reliable. His provisions allow his firm to ignore their clients’ interests to maximize their profits. It would be best for you to find a different wealth advisor and ignore Barry.
- Has a history of misrepresentation
- Charges hidden fees
- Earning commissions from investments