Peter Arbogast Merrill Lynch – The greed that never meets

When looking for a financial advisor in San Francisco, you might come across the name of Peter Arbogast Merrill Lynch. He runs a financial consultancy firm that focuses on leeching money off of its clients through predatory terms and conditions. 

From putting clients at excessive risk to abusing their funds for personal profits, this firm is doing everything you can imagine to take advantage of its clients. What’s worse is that they make you agree to these terms without your knowledge when you sign up as a client. 

Buzz around Peter Arbogast

In 2022, Peter Arbogast ranked 21st on the Forbes for Best in State Wealth Advisor list (California). Despite of the claims of customers, Peter manged to enlist himself in the Forbes.

I’ve highlighted those provisions to help you set your expectations and determine if he’s the right choice for you as a financial advisor: 

Who is Peter Arbogast Merrill Lynch? History and Customer Disputes

Peter Arbogast Merrill Lynch is a financial advisor based in San Francisco, California. Their address is 555 California St Suite 1800, San Francisco, CA 94104, US and the contact number is 415-955-3821. 

Apart from Peter Arbogast, other notable people in this firm are William D Hobi, CFA Craig Alexander Scott Steiger and Michael J Breen. All of them are managing directors at this firm. 

They claim to offer customized services to a select group of families and individuals. Also, they claim to offer personalized attention and developing financial strategies that align to your unique financial goals. 

Unsuitability Dispute with a Client

Peter Arbogast Merrill Lynch makes many claims about his expertise. However, he fails to highlight that he has had a customer dispute with one of his clients in 2010. The client had alleged unsuitable investment recommendations. Like most disputes with financial advisors, this one was denied. 

Peter Arbogast Merrill Lynch

Note that shady financial advisors make you sign many waivers before they sign you on as a new client. These waivers enable them to get away with irresponsible behavior without any accountability. That’s why most people who file any claims against their financial advisor find zero success. 

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I’m sharing some of the predatory provisions present in Peter Arbogast Merrill Lynch’s disclosures to help you get an idea of how he traps investors: 

Predatory Provisions in Peter Arbogast’s Terms & Conditions

Earning from Commissions

Peter’s biggest red flag is that a large chunk of his revenue comes from commissions. Fiduciaries who make money from commissions tend to overlook the financial requirements and goals of their clients. 

Ideally, your financial advisor would recommend you investments solely on the basis of their suitability for you. But when your advisor earns from commissions, they recommend you investments based on the commissions they get from the same. 

As you can guess, earning from commissions clouds the judgement of the advisor and makes it extremely difficult to trust their recommendations. You can always ask to see which investments generate commissions for your financial advisor to get an idea of how much you can trust them. 

Fiduciaries rarely share if they earn commissions from a specific investment. Earning from commissions leads to many conflicts of interest, the biggest of them is:

“Selling” Investments Instead of Recommending Them

Peter Arbogast and his team don’t just recommend securities to you. They “sell” them. Peter is a part of Merrill Lynch, a prominent bank with plenty of proprietary and affiliated products. These products generate hefty commissions for Peter so it would be inefficient for him to recommend anything other than the proprietary and affiliated products of his firm. 

This means that his firm would mostly recommend proprietary investments or affiliated investments at best even if there are better and more suited investments available in the market. After all, their first priority is their generated profit and no advisor would compromise with his own paycheck for his client. 

Also, Peter’s history of disputes suggests that he doesn’t put his clients above his profits. 

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Selling proprietary products is among the biggest reasons why advisors give unsuitable recommendations and misrepresent their clients. Furthermore, it restricts the number of investments an advisor can suggest his customers because they are motivated by the potential profits they can generate from the commissions. 

Peter Arbogast and his team mention on their website that they provide customized services to select individuals and families. In other words, they only handle large portfolios. 

Your portfolio would be large in itself but imagine if one person had access to 10 more portfolios like yours. Certainly, that’s a lot of power for one person. Even in this scenario, things would be okay until the person starts abusing his power, which is the biggest issue with Peter Arbogast Merrill Lynch. 

Peter and his firm trade the investments they recommend to their clients. This allows them to use your and every one of their client’s portfolios to manipulate the performance of certain securities and get the returns they desire. 

Front-running is a common issue among such advisors where they buy or sell a particular investment then recommend it accordingly to their clients to get better returns. 

Peter isn’t the only advisor who uses such cheap tactics to steal from his clients. Another advisor who uses this tactic is Scot Benefiel Merrill Lynch. You should be wary of such fiduciaries and avoid them at all costs. 


Peter Arbogast Merrill Lynch is a shady financial advisor, that’s for sure. He has a history of client disputes and has inserted multiple shady clauses in his terms and conditions to take advantage of investors. 

It would be very dangerous to work with such an advisor. You should look for someone else who has better regard for his or her clients because working with such an advisor can easily put you in a detrimental position. 

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In conclusion, avoid Peter V Arbogast. 

2.6Expert Score
Best to avoid

Peter Arbogast and his firm have predatory provisions in their agreements meant to trap investors into unfavorable positions. They are particularly dangerous for investors with large portfolios. Due to these reasons, it would be best to avoid Peter and his team.

Concern for Clients
  • None
  • Earning commissions from companies
  • Has incentive for ignoring the client's interests
  • Trades recommended investments

1 Comment
  1. This is a terrible article from someone who clearly does not understand the financial advisory business.

    This article is poorly written and almost seems like a robo-scam parading as an article written by a human.

    Not a single comment in this article is factual or makes any sense.

    Peter Arbogast is a stand up person, who truly cares about people and maximizes their success through a variety of comprehensive financial strategies.

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