According to BrokerCheck records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) former advisor Alex Herrera (Herrera), formerly associated with UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS) in Coral Gables, Florida was barred by FINRA. In the regulatory action FINRA claimed that Herrera consented to the sanction and findings that he refused to provide information requested by FINRA in connection with its investigation of his possible participation in unreported outside business activities (OBAs) and private securities transactions.
At this time it is unclear the nature or scope of the alleged OBAs and private securities transactions that Herrera was involved in. However, in May 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Herrera stole her money to buy a vacation home. The claim is currently pending.
Often accompanied with undisclosed OBAs is the risk of the sale of unapproved investment products – a practice known in the industry as “selling away” – a serious violation of the securities laws. In the industry the term selling away refers to when a financial advisor solicits investments in companies, promissory notes, or other securities that are not pre-approved by the broker’s affiliated firm. Sometimes those investments have some legitimacy but often times these types of investments can end up being Ponzi schemes or the advisor can be engaging in the conversion of funds. When advisors convert or misappropriate funds they often created businesses or other vehicles to serve as a cover for the theft of funds. However, federal securities laws and the FINRA rules require firms to monitor and supervise its employees in order to detect and prevent brokers from offering investments in this fashion. In order to properly supervise their brokers each firm is required to have procedures in order to monitor the activities of each advisor’s activities and interaction with the public. Selling away misconduct often occurs where brokerage firms either fail to put in place a reasonable supervisory system or fail to actually implement that system. Supervisory failures allow brokers to engage in unsupervised misconduct that can include all manner improper conduct including selling away.
In cases of selling away the investor is unaware that the advisor’s investments are improper. In many of these cases the investor will not learn that the broker’s activities were wrongful until after the investment scheme is publicized, the broker is fired or charged by law enforcement, or stops returning client calls altogether.
Herrera entered the securities industry in 1999. From July 2006 until March 2012 Herrera was associated with HSBC Securities (USA) Inc. From March 2012 until May 2018 Herrera had been associated with UBS out of the firm’s Coral Gables, Florida office location.
Investors who have suffered losses are encouraged to contact us at (800) 810-4262 for consultation. Investors may be able recover their losses through securities arbitration. The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are experienced in representing investors in cases of selling away and brokerage firms failure to supervise their representatives. Our consultations are free of charge and the firm is only compensated if you recover.