SEC bars former Merrill rep Thomas J. Buck over commissions

Accused of charging clients excessive fees and commissions, Thomas J. Buck has already been barred by Finra and has pleaded guilty to a criminal charge.

Feb 12, 2018 @ 1:29 pm

By InvestmentNews

The Securities and Exchange Commission has barred former Merrill Lynch broker Thomas J. Buck from the brokerage and investment advisory businesses.

Last October, Mr. Buck pleaded guilty to overcharging clients by millions of dollars. He also reached a settlement with the SEC for more than $5 million.

In a complaint filed in October, the SEC said that from 2012 through March 2015, Mr. Buck received more than $2.5 million in excessive commissions and fees from at least 50 clients with whom he was working in his Carmel, Ind., practice. He headed what was known as the "Buck Team" with more than 3,000 accounts and $1.3 billion in assets under management.

The SEC said that Mr. Buck put clients into accounts where they paid commissions rather than less expensive fee-based alternatives. He did not tell clients that his commissions exceeded promised limits and placed unauthorized trades in their accounts.

A top producer, Mr. Buck was fired by Merrill Lynch in March 2015 and later that year was barred from the brokerage business by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. He now lives in Orchid, Fla.

He also was the subject of an FBI probe, which resulted in one count of securities fraud to which Mr. Buck pleaded guilty. He faces up to 25 years in prison.

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