Ex-Merrill Lynch broker can clear record of complaint caused by former partner’s misconduct

On Behalf of | May 4, 2022 | Broker Misconduct

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitrators sided with a broker trying to clear his record following his former partner’s misconduct, according to AdvisorHub.

The three-member FINRA panel authorized Patrick T. Stehl, a former broker for Merrill Lynch in Kentucky, to expunge his record of a complaint filed by an investor over the actions of Strehl’s ex-partner, Christopher Hibbard. Hibbard was sent to prison after pleading guilty to embezzling over $4.2 million from the accounts of clients.

One of the clients had filed a claim in 2019 accusing Strehl, Hibbard, Merrill Lynch and Raymond James Financial of fraud and breach of contract and fiduciary duty, among other violations.

After the investor’s complaint appeared on Strehl’s BrokerCheck report, Strehl posted a comment saying that he vigorously denied all allegations and that he had not advised the investor for 12 years.

In the FINRA arbitration award allowing the expungement, the panel noted that Strehl was not involved in the alleged theft from the investor, and that the responsible party is now serving time in federal prison.

Merill Lynch and Raymond James both reached settlements with the investor who filed the com­plaint. Hibbard was barred from the industry by FINRA and the Securities and Exchange Commission after pleading guilty in 2020 to charges of investment advisor fraud.

Strehl departed Merrill Lynch in 2018 and is currently with Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. in Louisville.

At Lewitas Hyman, our firm has considerable experience with FINRA’s procedures for expunging false, defamatory and erroneous disclosures from a registered representative’s record. This experience includes seeking expungement in existing FINRA customer and employment arbitrations, as well as filing separate FINRA arbitrations for the sole purpose of seeking expungement. If you have any concerns about problematic disclosures on your CRD record or those that are viewable on FINRA’s BrokerCheck portal, contact Lewitas Hyman at (312) 291-4600 or through our online contact form for a free consultation. 

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