Schiff base ligand: N,N'-bis(1-phenylethylidene)ethane-1,2-diamine (L), was derived from acetophenone and ethylenediamine by condensation and its complexes (1-5) were prepared with Pb2+, Ni2+, Co2+, Cu2+ and Cd2+ metal ions. Their structures were characterized by FAB-MS, IR spectra, elemental analyses and molar conductance. The octahedral geometry of the complexes was proposed by electronic spectra and magnetic moment data. The conductivity data showed that the complexes have non-electrolytic nature. The complexes (1-5) have higher in vitro antimicrobial activity than the Schiff base ligand (L). In the nuclease activity, the complexes cleave DNA as compared to control DNA in the presence of H2O2.