Merrill Ousts Million-Dollar Broker in Manhattan over Expenses
A million-dollar producer at Merrill Lynch has been fired over allegations of filing inaccurate expense reports as compliance-sensitive firms continue to crack down on improprieties that managers once may have tried to quietly resolve.
Charles “Chad” Pouliot, a midtown Manhattan-based broker who has spent his nine-year brokerage career with Merrill, was fired on October 2 for “conduct involving submission of inaccurate business expense reimbursement forms,” according to a discharge notice posted on his BrokerCheck record.
The notice did not provide details of the conduct at issue, but one person briefed on Pouliot’s dismissal said it may have involved filing of some dental bills.
Pouliot, an Ohio Wesleyan graduate, was a senior vice president, according to his former Merrill website and his LinkedIn profile, a designation that at Merrill denotes brokers who generally produce at least $1 million of annual revenue.
Pouliot, who is not currently registered with another firm, did not return requests for comment left at his residence in New Jersey.
A Merrill spokesman declined to comment.
Pouliot had worked at the firm’s W. 47th Street branch in Rockefeller Center where he was a member of the Andrews Group team, according to his LinkedIn profile. A person answering the team’s phone declined to comment.
John Monical, a partner at the law firm of Lawrence, Kamin, Saunders & Uhlenhop in Chicago, said managers who used to quietly try to guide brokers out of rule violations that do not hurt clients without triggering compliance alarms have less leeway today.
“What you’re seeing among firms is a higher sensitivity to anything that might reflect inaccuracies,” said Monical, who was not familiar with Pouliot or his circumstances. “You may be a big producer, but if you’re putting us at substantial risk of civil liability or regulatory exposure, we’re not going to keep you on.”
Merrill last November terminated a $1.4 billion broker in Boston over allegations that he submitted personal expenses for reimbursement. A midwest complex manager also resigned from the firm that month as Merrill was investigating allegations that included “improper submission of personal expenses for reimbursement,” according to his BrokerCheck report.
“They are going through expense reports with a fine tooth comb” since the Boston broker’s termination, said a senior Merrill producer in the Mid-Atlantic who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Morgan Stanley last December dismissed a broker in Idaho over what he said in his BrokerCheck history was an improper expense claim for $273.