Buyer Beware

John Cate Merrill Lynch is Defrauding Investors

If you’re looking for a wealth advisor in Carmel, you might come across the name of John Cate Merrill Lynch. He has a long history of misrepresentation, fraud, and giving unsuitable recommendations. 

The following review will shed more light on his past: 

A Brief Introduction to John Cate Merrill Lynch

John Cate Merrill Lynch is a financial advisor based in Carmel, Indiana. His address is 510 E 96th St Suite 500, Indianapolis, IN 46240, US and his contact number is 317-848-2140. He claims to offer investment strategies and advice based on your risk tolerance, goals, liquidity needs and time horizon. 

John claims that his team cares deeply about its clients and the work they do. He claims that they are dedicated and focused on creating investment strategies that support your work. 

Other people in John Cate Merrill Lynch’s team include Eric Brunton, Ian Edington, Scott S Luc and Robert Charles Jose Scheele.

They offer their services to high net worth individuals and institutions. They offer investment solutions, retirement benefit plans, defined benefit plans, and defined contribution investment consulting. The firm offers customized services to endowments and non-profits. 

So far, John seems like a reliable advisor. But he fails to mention any of the 5 legal disputes he has faced from his clients. His firm is trying to mislead investors into trusting them. Before you fall prey to these sugar-coated claims, it would be best to take a deeper look at his professional past. The next section of this review will help you in this regard: 

Before you start working with any financial advisor, it’s best to check their professional history. You can do so by visiting their FINRA BrokerCheck listing. There, you can learn about their state licenses, the exams they have passed, their qualifications, and the disputes they have faced. 

The FINRA BrokerCheck listing of John Cate Merrill Lynch shows five disputes, which is a lot by any standards. Competent financial advisors rarely face a single dispute and John has already faced 5 disputes so far. Below are the complaints he has received from his clients: 

First Dispute

John’s first dispute occurred in 2001. Here, the client alleged that Cate recommended unsuitable investments from 1999 to 2000. They requested $100,000 in damages. 

However, no action was taken. John has kept most of the information available on this dispute hidden. Hence, you can’t find out why nothing happened. Many shady advisors use this tactic so they can save face. 

The more a prospective investor finds out about such conflicts, the more it damages an advisor’s image. Hence, they try their best to hide the data available on these disputes.

Second Dispute

John faced his second dispute on 5-30-2001. His customer alleged unsuitable trading charging commissions in excess of what was represented would be charged. They requested $400,000 in damages and settled the case for $250,000. 

Again, John Cate Merrill Lynch has kept most of the information available on the dispute hidden. However, this dispute is proof that John can charge you more commissions than you agreed on.

Third Dispute

His third dispute also occurred in 2001. Here, the claimant alleged unsuitable investment recommendations, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and violation of Florida statute 517.301. 

They requested $365,000 in damages and settled the case for $40,000. John claims that he settled the case to avoid the expense and uncertainty of litigation. 

Fourth Dispute

John faced his fourth dispute on 1-31-2002. His customer alleged unsuitable recommendations as to investments and use of margin. They demanded $285,000 in damages but no action was taken. 

Again, John hasn’t shared any information on why nothing happened in this case. 

Fifth Dispute

John Cate Merrill Lynch’s fifth dispute occurred in 2004. Here, the customer alleged that the advisor made unsuitable investments and recommendations. They didn’t specify the damages. 

Like in the last case, nothing happened in this dispute. 

Keep in mind that most of these disputes end in the favor of the broker. Hence, investors try their best to avoid filing a dispute with their fiduciary. The reason why such disputes don’t usually end in the favor of the investor is because of the waivers they make the investors sign. 

These waivers ensure that your advisor is not responsible for the recommendations he makes. If you suffer any losses or get taken advantage of, you can’t hold your advisor responsible. 

Know that John Cate isn’t the only shady advisor who has faced multiple disputes in his career. Another notorious advisor who has faced multiple complaints is the Schultz Group Morgan Stanley


After going through the professional history of John Cate Merrill Lynch, it’s obvious that you can’t trust him. No matter how many attractive claims he makes about his firm, trusting him would be a mistake. 

He has a long history of wronging his clients. You wouldn’t want to trust this guy with the future of your institution or family. 

2.5Expert Score

If you care about your financial security and safety, you should avoid dealing with John Cate Merrill Lynch. The man is using multiple deceitful tactics to pull wool over your eyes. It would be best to find a different wealth advisor.

Concern for Clients
  • None
  • Has faced 5 legal disputes already
  • Recurring complaints for misrepresentation and unsuitability
  • Terrible track record
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