Elderly Lady with Parkinson’s Awarded $110,000
On September 17, 2010, an arbitration panel in New York ordered Fidelity Brokerage Services to pay Viola McNeill $87,850, plus interest and costs for an award of $110,000. Additionally, the panel ordered Fidelity to pay $16,450 in forum fees. Her Fidelity brokers recommended that Ms. McNeill move her retirement and brokerage accounts to their fee based management program called Fidelity Portfolio Advisory Service (PAS). Her investment objectives were preservation of capital and income, with an allocation of 60% stocks and 40% fixed income. The brokers felt like she would outlive her money if she did not assume more risk, placing her in the “one size fits all” category. Over time her accounts were handled by seven or eight brokers as she was shuffled back and forth, without anyone altering her allocation to fit her needs while her health deteriorated due to Parkinson’s Disease.
The panel stated in the award that “it was Fidelity’s system, under which clients were repeatedly shuffled from one agent to another, that caused injury to the Claimant” (FINRA# 09-03526; Viola McNeill v. Fidelity Brokerage Services, LLC, et al).