Merrill Parts Ways with Veteran Manager in Michigan
Merrill Lynch has dismissed a producing branch manager in Grand Blanc, Michigan, who had spent his 30-year career at the firm, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
Jerry L. Rhoden, who started his brokerage career at Merrill in 1990, left unexpectedly last week, the sources said. One attributed the departure to what appears to be a human resources issue of “inappropriate behavior, and did not involve clients or investments.
A Merrill spokesman confirmed that Rhoden is no longer an employee of the Bank of America-owned firm, but declined further comment.
Rhoden’s BrokerCheck record includes a single customer complaint from 2010 involving an annuity death benefit, and says that Merrill denied the complaint. The database as of Thursday morning still lists Rhoden as being registered with Merrill Lynch.
Rhoden had been overseeing the branch in the Flint, Mich. suburb since it opened in 2007, according to a local media report. It has about 30 employees, including eight teams and four solo practitioners, according to the branch website.
“As a Senior Resident Director- Wealth Management Advisor, Jerry assists clients by helping manage their individual wealth to meeting their individual needs,” his website biography says.
Rhoden gained local notoriety in 2015 when he was named as a defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit from Debra DiPillo, an advisor in the office for less than a year in 2014. She alleged that Rhoden retaliated against her after she had complained about advances from the leader of her team. Rhoden allegedly made abusive and suggestive comments to her, according to a press release from Tom R. Pabst, DiPillo’s lawyer.
The case was settled for $275,000, according to court records in Genesee County court and to Pabst.
Rhoden, whose LinkedIn profile says he obtained his high-school equivalency degree (GED) in 1970, was a “frequent and sought after speaker on retirement planning,” according to his Merrill web biography. It says he graduated from a local high school.
He is also part-owner of a 7-Eleven Inc. franchise in Flint, Michigan, according to his BrokerCheck report.