Scott Hardie Merrill Lynch – Lacks Business Ethics

If you’re looking for a new wealth advisor in New Orleans, Louisiana, you might come across the name of Scott Hardie Merrill Lynch. He is a shady wealth advisor who puts his interests above everyone else’s. 

His firm uses multiple unethical tactics to leech funds off their clients. In this review, you’ll learn about these tactics and the various legal conflicts Scott has faced because of them. This way, you’ll be able to make a well-informed decision on him: 

Who is Scott Hardie Merrill Lynch?

Scott Hardie Merrill Lynch is a financial advisor located at 601 Poydras St 25th Floor, Suite 2500, New Orleans, LA 70130, US. His contact number is 504-586-7792. 

His firm claims to focus on understanding what matters the most to their clients. They claim to help their clients design and implement customized wealth management strategies so they can pursue their financial goals. 

Scott is the Managing Director of the firm while Maria B Johnson is the Senior Financial Advisor. 

He offers multiple services to his clients such as: 

  • Health savings account
  • Exchange funds
  • Securities-based lending
  • Trust & estate planning services
  • Succession planning
  • Concentrated stock management
  • Structured lending
  • Donor-advised funds
  • Alternative investments
  • Investment advisory accounts

And plenty of others. 

The firm claims that it prioritizes its clients’ needs and wants over everything else. However, the predatory provisions of the firm tell a whole nother story. According to the terms and conditions of Scott’s firm, they are a terrible service provider. They allow themselves to abuse their clients’ funds and have incentive to give unsuitable advice. 

Hence, the next section of this review is extremely important for you:

Why You Should Avoid Scott Hardie Merrill Lynch

History of Giving Unsuitable Recommendations

When you’re looking into a new wealth advisor, you should look into his FINRA BrokerCheck listing. It’s a vast database where you can find out a lot of crucial information about the advisor. This includes information about the advisors’ past experience, certifications, state licenses, and disputes with clients. 

The FINRA BrokerCheck listing of Scott Hardie Merrill Lynch shows two cusotmer disputes. His first dispute occurred in 2001. Here, the client alleged that Scott didn’t follow his instructions. He didn’t specify any damages.

However, the firm denied the complaint by claiming that there was no merit. 

Scott’s second dispute occurred in 2009. Here, the client alleged unsuitable investment recommendations and requested $50,462 in damages. 

However, Scott’s firm denied this claim as well. They haven’t specified why they denied the claim, which is quite suspicious. 

Note that it’s quite common for such disputes to end in the favor of the advisor. That’s because shady advisors make their clients sign various waivers which free them off of any accountability. 

Scott Hardie Merrill Lynch isn’t the only shady avdisor who uses this method to avoid responsibility. Another advisory firm that has been employing this tactic is the Hansberger Group Morgan Stanley

Earning Commissions from Securities

Scott’s firm earns commissions from the sale of proprietary and affiliated investment products. Out of these products, some offer higher commissions than others. 

This incentivizes the advisor to prefer a small group of investments regardless of their suitability. Hence, the selection of available recommendations becomes extremely small. 

Also, the advisor has no incentive for recommending any investments that don’t offer him commissions. This can cause you to miss out on many suitable investments. Moreover, many clients aren’t even aware of how many excellent investment opportunities they have missed out on because of this. 

Earning commissions introduces bias in the advisor’s recommendations. Hence, you can’t trust his advice. 

Using Clients’ Funds for Personal Profits

A huge issue in Scott Hardie Merrill Lynch’s provisions is that he trades recommended securities. This means he can trade the investments he recommends to his clients. 

Trading recommended investments allows the advisor to abuse his clients’ portfolios, particularly when the advisor handles high net worth organizations and individuals. That’s because it gives the advisor more freedom to manipulate the performance of certain securities. 

For example, many brokers who trade recommended securities perform “front-running”. Here, the advisor trades a specific investment and recommends it to his clients accordingly. 

They might short-sell a particular stock and recommend their clients to sell the same. This might not yield any benefits for the investor but the advisor can make huge profits through its implementation. 

Basically, trading recommended securities leads to too many conflicts of interest. Hence, you should avoid it at all costs. 

Conclusion

Scott Hardie Merrill Lynch is probably the worst financial advisor in New Orleans. He allows his firm to abuse its clients’ funds and he traps investors in such terrible agreements. 

It would be better for you to find a different wealth advisor who truly prioritizes your well-being instead of just claiming to do so. Luckily, New Orleans is home to many wealth advisors so you don’t have to stick with this one. 

2.8Expert Score
Unsuitable for most investors

Scott Hardie Merrill Lynch is among the worst advisors in New Orleans. His terms and conditions have too many problematic provisions which allow his firm to take advantage of investors. It would be best to avoid him.

Trust
2.5
Experience
2.5
Service
3.5
Concern for Clients
2.5
Pros
  • None
Cons
  • History of giving unsuitable recommendations
  • Earning commissions from securities
  • Using clients' funds for personal profits
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