Rod Westmoreland Merrill Lynch – Scamming Investors

If you’re looking for wealth advisors in Atlanta, Georgia, you might come across the name of Rod Westmoreland Merrill Lynch. He is a selfish advisor who uses manipulative tactics to take advantage of his clients. 

Rod has a long history of legal disputes. His most recent legal conflict with a client was of more than $2 million. Furthermore, his firm’s terms and conditions have many shady provisions. You’ll learn more about them in the following points: 

Who is Rod Westmoreland Merrill Lynch? 

Rod Westmoreland Merrill Lynch is a financial consultant based in Atlanta, Georgia. His office is located at 3455 Peachtree Rd NE Suite 200- 1100, Atlanta, GA 30326, US and the phone number is 404-264-2066. 

Rod Westmoreland runs the Westmoreland Group of Merrill Lynch. He is the Managing Director of this firm. Other notable people at this firm are Kevin S Mikan, Hugh T Moody, David Streib, Kelly Westmoreland, and Veronica Morrissette. 

The firm caters to a select group of clients and claims to offer highly personalized one-on-one service. Primarily, the firm works with professional athletes, corporate executives, intergenerational families, family offices, women, private business owners and entrepreneurs. 

This firm offers various services to its clients such as executive services, business related consultancy, customized lending, financial education, global investments, and philanthropy. 

At first, the Westmoreland Group seems like any other boutique service provider. However, its terms and conditions have many provisions that put its clients in compromising situations. More on this in the next section of this review: 

Issues Rod Westmoreland Merrill Lynch is Trying to Hide from You

Before you start working with any wealth management firm, it’s best to check their past history. To do so, you should check their FINRA BrokerCheck listing. It will tell you about their industry experience, state licenses, the exams they have passed, and the legal conflicts they have had in the past.

According to the FINRA BrokerCheck profile of Rod Westmoreland Merrill Lynch, he has had two major disputes with his clients. 

The first dispute occurred on 3-20-2003. Here, multiple clients alleged that Rod made unsuitable recommendations and transactions in their accounts. They requested $600,000 in damages. 

However, nothing happened as Rod claims that the claimants didn’t respond. 

The second dispute happened in 2017. Here, the client alleged misrepresentation and omission of material fact between August 2015 and February 2017. They requested $2,000,000 in damages. 

In this case, the firm claimed that all the allegations were without merit and hence, they denied these claims altogether. 

In most cases, such disputes end in the favor of the advisor. That’s because advisors like Rod make you sign multiple waivers at the start. These waivers free them of any accountability so you can’t hold them responsible for their unsuitable recommendations. 

The McKelvy Group Morgan Stanley is a prominent example of advisors who use this tactic to avoid responsibility. 

Broker-Dealer Conflict

Rod Westmoreland Merrill Lynch is dual-registered as a financial advisor and a broker. Research shows that dual-registered fiduciaries have many potential conflicts of interest. 

These include revenue sharing from mutual funds, earning transaction-based commissions and asset-based fees from the same security and giving preference to affiliated mutual funds. Regulatory authorities are constantly trying to put such financial advisors in check but they can’t do everything. 

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

Fiduciaries like Rod Westmoreland Merrill Lynch appear to fall short of the fiduciary standard. Hence, it’s best to avoid trusting them with your finances. 

Putting Clients at Excessive Risk

The Westmoreland Group recommends investments that charge performance-based fees. This is a highly notorious practice in the finance industry because it puts the investor in a detrimental position. 

When your advisor charges you performance-based fees, they make money when they outperform a specific index. To do so, they implement high-risk strategies. 

Such strategies are unsuitable for almost all types of portfolios because they offer poor or negative returns in most cases. 

Still, high-risk strategies are particularly dangerous for portfolios looking for long-term growth and security. Because of the monetary incentive, many advisors might ignore the risk tolerance of their client and implement high-risk strategies anyway if they are following this fee structure. 

What’s worse is that if you suffer losses because of your advisor’s high-risk recommendations, you can’t hold them responsible for it. 

Conclusion

Rod Westmoreland Merrill Lynch makes many boastful claims but the truth is, his firm fails to meet the fiduciary standard. He has faced multiple legal conflicts, one of them being a multi-million dispute. 

Also, Rod Westmoreland’s firm has many conflicts of interest in its terms and conditions. They are making money at the expense of their clients’ growth, which is never a good sign. 

Avoid dealing with them at all costs.

2.6Expert Score
Misleading

Rod Westmoreland of Merrill Lynch is misleading investors through his deceitful claims. He doesn’t care about his clients and their financial successes as evident by his shady terms and conditions.

Trust
2
Experience
3
Service
2.5
Concern for Clients
3
Pros
  • None
Cons
  • Faced multi-million legal disputes
  • Putting clients at too much risk
  • Broker dealer conflict
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