Aubrey Lee (CRD# 1685532), a broker registered with Merrill Lynch, recommended unsuitable variable annuity investments, according to an investor dispute. MDF Law is investigating the Farmington Hills, Ohio-based financial professional for similar conduct. We urge investors with concerns to call us immediately for a free consultation.
This post contains details about the allegations against Mr. Lee and his background in the securities industry. The information herein can be found in his Financial Industry Regulatory Authority BrokerCheck profile, accessed on November 7, 2023.
Pending Dispute Seeks 6-Figure Damages
On August 30, 2023, an investor lodged a dispute alleging that Mr. Lee recommended unsuitable variable annuity investments. The dispute, which remains pending, seeks $122,977 in damages.
Merrill Lynch Denied Past Disputes
The above-described pending dispute is not the only one on Mr. Lee’s BrokerCheck record. Between 2005 and 2023, two parties of investors lodged disputes. They alleged that he recommended unsuitable investments, including mutual funds and variable annuities. The disputes sought more than $180,000 in damages, and they were denied by his member firm.
Variable Annuities Can Be Risky Annuities
Variable annuities are investments similar in many ways to mutual funds. Unlike their counterparts, however, they offer investors a tax-deferred treatment of earnings and a death benefit. They may also include payout options that provide lifetime income for the investor.
Over the years, many investors have filed disputes involving variable annuity products. In some cases, they allege that their broker did not fully disclose certain fees associated with the product. One such example is the surrender charge. This is a sales fee triggered when investors withdraw funds from the annuity within a certain period of time after purchase. Often used to pay a commission to the investor’s broker or adviser, these fees are typically a percentage of the amount withdrawn. Brokers who fail to properly educate their customers about an annuity’s surrender charge, or other risks associated with the product, may be subject to disciplinary action by securities regulators. Alternatively, they may face investor disputes alleging that they misrepresented the product.
What Is the Aubrey Lee and Julius Readus Group?
As Merrill Lynch’s website reflects, Mr. Lee is a Senior Vice President at The Aubrey Lee, Jr. and Julius Readus Group, a private practice within the firm. “Over the past four decades, Aubrey been a strong proponent of helping clients identify and satisfy their most important life priorities,” his biographical statement on the website describes. “By asking questions, listening and learning throughout the course of each relationship, Aubrey builds flexible wealth management strategies that account for a client’s personal circumstances and preferences – whether it’s creating a retirement lifestyle, leaving a meaningful legacy, or serving the community.”
FINRA: Lee Based in Farmington Hills, Michigan
Aubrey Lee started his career as a broker in 1987, when he registered with Merrill Lynch. He has remained at the firm since, working out of its branch office in Farmington Hills, Michigan. With 36 years of experience as a broker, he has completed two state securities law exams, three general industry/products exams, and two principal/supervisory exams.
MDF Law Offers Free Consultations
If you lost money on variable annuity or other investments recommended by Aubrey Lee, you may have grounds to file a FINRA arbitration claim. Call MDF Law to speak with one of our attorneys for free. We accept cases on contingency, which means that clients only pay a fee if they collect lost funds. Call 800-767-8040 for a free consultation today.