Greg Baker Merrill Lynch – Faced a $500,000 Dispute

If you’re looking for a financial advisor in Bethesda, Maryland, you might see the name of Greg Baker Merrill Lynch pop up frequently. He is a dangerous advisor who takes advantage of his clients by trapping them in unfavorable agreements. 

His terms and conditions contain multiple shady provisions. These provisions make it easy for his firm to abuse the portfolios of their clients while avoiding any repercussions. 

The following review will shed light on these problematic provisions. Also, you would learn about a few things Greg doesn’t want you to know about: 

Greg Baker Merrill Lynch: Firm and Services

Greg Baker Merrill Lynch is a wealth advisor based in Bethesda, Maryland. His office is located at 7501 Wisconsin Ave Suite 600 W, Bethesda, MD 20814, US and the contact number is 301-215-4424. 

Greg runs the Baker Ellis Group which claims to help people achieve their financial goals through the highest level of personalized service and care. Also, they claim to place their clients at the center of the wealth management process to design goals-based financial strategies. 

Greg is the Managing Director and Wealth Management Advisor at the firm. Other notable people at his company include Michael Charles Ellis (Senior Vice President) and Mellisa M St. Louis (Vice President). 

The firm says it is committed to understanding the unique challenges, priorities and financial resources of a client. Their areas of focus include managing healthcare expenses, taking care of the family, home-related investments, working in retirement, and many others. 

Some of their various services are: 

  • Alternative investments
  • Securities-based lending
  • Charitable trusts
  • Succession planning
  • Concentrated stock management
  • Exchange funds
  • Structured lending
  • Fixed income products
  • Investment advisory accounts
  • Exchange traded funds
  • Impact portfolios

And plenty of others. 

While Greg Baker Merrill Lynch makes plenty of attractive claims about his services, most of them are lies. His disclosures have multiple problematic provisions which disagree with his claim of putting his clients’ interests at priority. 

Hence, trusting them isn’t easy. In the following section of this review, you’ll learn about these problematic provisions and understand why you should avoid Greg:

Red Flags in Greg Baker Merrill Lynch

$500,000 Dispute with a Client

When you’re looking into a new wealth advisor, one of the most important things you should check is their FINRA BrokerCheck listing. There, you can learn about their past experience, state licenses, the exams they have passed and their past disputes. 

The FINRA BrokerCheck listing of Greg Baker Merrill Lynch shows one major dispute. It occurred in 2001. Here, the client alleged that Greg failed to follow his instructions. He requested $500,000 in damages. 

However, Morgan Stanley denied the complaint. They claimed that the complaint was without merit. 

Note that it’s extremely rare for such disputes to end in the client’s favor. That’s because crooked advisors like Greg Baker make their clients sign multiple waivers in the beginning of their professional relationship. 

The waivers enable the advisors to avoid accountability. Another advisor who used this tactic to avoid responsibility is Doug Kisker Ameriprise

Putting Clients at Excessive Risk

Greg and his firm charge performance-based fees. When an advisor charges performance-based fees, their earning depends on how well your portfolio performs against a specific benchmark. 

It may seem like an attractive fee structure. However, it is horrible for any investor. 

The performance-based fee structure encourages the wealth advisor to implement high-risk strategies. These strategies make it easier for the portfolio to outperform the benchmark in a short period of time. However, their high-risk strategies makes them unsuitable for almost all types of investors. 

High risk strategies rarely offer positive returns. In most cases, the investor only receives poor or negative returns on his investments. Furthermore, these strategies can wipe out significant chunks of your investment in volatile markets. 

Broker-Dealer Conflict

Ideally, an investment advisor must place his clients’ interests ahead of his own. However, those who are dual-registered as brokers and advisors have no reason to put their client interests ahead of their own. 

Greg Baker Merrill Lynch is a dual-registered broker-advisor. This exposes his clients to many conflicts of interest such as revenue sharing from investment products, earning transaction-based commissions and asset-based fees from the same investment and giving preference to affiliated mutual funds. 

Regulatory authorities are always trying to keep such advisors in check. However, it’s impossible for them to review every small deal. 

Also, dual-registered advisors charge their RIA clients higher fees than their brokerage clients. Additionally, they prefer institutional share classes of the same underperforming mutual funds they offer brokerage clients. 

Conclusion

Greg Baker Merrill Lynch makes many bold claims about his services. However, his firm has too many flaws.

The firm has monetary incentive for ignoring the risk tolerance of its clients. Also, it falls short of the fiduciary standard because of its broker-dealer conflict. 

Due to these reasons, it would be best to avoid Greg and his firm. Find someone else. 

2 Total Score
Terrible

Greg Baker Merrill Lynch is a horrible wealth advisor for any investor. His firm has multiple predatory provisions in its terms and conditions which allow him to prey on gullible investors. Avoid!

2.5Expert Score
Trust
2.5
Experience
2
Service
3.5
Concern for Clients
2
1.5User's score
Trust
2
Experience
2
Service
1
Concern for Clients
1
PROS
  • None
CONS
  • Faced a $500,000 dispute
  • Putting clients at excessive risk
  • Broker-dealer conflict
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1 Comment
  1. 0.75
    Trust
    20
    Experience
    20
    Service
    10
    Concern for Clients
    10

    Greg’s staff is probably some of the most dishonest bunch of people in the FA industry. Not recommended.

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