The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a Complaint yesterday against former RBC Capital Markets and Merrill Lynch broker Thomas J. Buck, who was employed in the Indianapolis, Indiana area. According to the allegations, Buck made false representations and omissions to certain clients regarding fees and commissions charged in their accounts and by making unauthorized trades in client accounts for which he did not have discretionary trading authority.
From 2012 to 2015, Buck served as financial advisor to thousands of customers and investment advisory clients of Merrill Lynch, serving as leader of a team of associated individuals known as “The Buck Group.” The team had approximately $1.3 billion in assets under management.
During that time period, Buck allegedly misrepresented to numerous customers the maximum amount of commissions that would be charged in his customers’ accounts, failed to inform customers that their total annual commissions were exceeding the promised limit, and fraudulently misrepresented to a number of his customers that their commissions were lower than they really were. Buck further allegedly failed to inform those customers that a fee-based option would be cheaper than the annual commissions being charged.
The SEC complaint further alleges that Buck fraudulently increased his commissions by making unauthorized trades in customer accounts. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) barred Buck in July 2015 based on allegations of similar conduct. Buck has also pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud and faces up to 25 years in prison. In addition to the FINRA bar, Buck’s FINRA BrokerCheck report details thirty-six (36) customer complaints made against him.