Gene Hines, a 59 year old writer-producer filed an arbitration with the National Association of Securities Dealers against Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER – news) alleging that his broker misled him in connection with the management of his retirement investments. Mr. Hines has alleged that in recommending the purchase of a variable annuity in his IRA account, Merrill Lynch misrepresented the investment by telling him that the variable annuity it recommended had a minimum rate of return.
Mr. Hines alleges that Merrill Lynch never told him that the “minimum” rate of return was only to be paid on his death.
Mr. Hines is represented by Aidikoff & Uhl, a Beverly Hills and Indian Wells, California law firm that represents customers in securities arbitrations. According to Philip M. Aidikoff, “Variable annuities are tax sheltered investments which should not be recommended to public customers for purchase in a tax sheltered retirement account, like an IRA. These investments are often sold as ‘guaranteed’ retirement investments. However, most investors like Mr. Hines, don’t understand that their money was really invested in high-tech or volatile mutual funds.”
“This type of problem is pervasive in the brokerage industry,” added Ryan K. Bakhtiari. “Public customers nearing retirement often fall victim to the lure of a guaranteed or ‘minimum’ rate of return promised by their brokerage firm.”
Aidikoff & Uhl represents a number of investors who have suffered losses at full service brokerage firms who purchased variable annuities from brokerage firms that made similar misrepresentations.