Articles Tagged with UBS Financial

shutterstock_143685652-300x300The attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating reports that advisor Nicolas Barrios (Barrios) engaged in undisclosed outside business activities (OBAs) that were not approved by his brokerage firm resulting in potential fraudulent investments.  Barrios, formerly registered with UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS) out of Winter Haven, Florida was barred from the financial industry according to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  In addition, Barrios disclosed at least four customer complaints and one employment termination for cause.

In April 2019 UBS terminated Barrios for cause alleging that he was discharged after stating during a firm review: (1) he arranged for client to invest away from firm in private company; (2) he personally invested in that company without firm approval; and (3) he used personal email to communicate with client’s family in an attempt to evade firm detection.  UBS claims to have subsequently learned that at least seven of Barrios’ clients moved money from UBS accounts to outside bank accounts from which they wrote checks to an entity with which Barrios is affiliated

In June 2019 FINRA found that Barrios consented to the sanctions and findings that he failed to provide FINRA with requested documents and information in connection with FINRA’s investigation into allegations that Barrios mismanaged and committed fraud with respect to a customer’s account. Accordingly, Barrios was automatically barred from the securities industry.

At this time it is unclear what OBA Barrios engaged in that FINRA was investigating.  Barrios’s public disclosures state that he was involved in a auto boat broker dealer business.  It is unclear if these OBAs were the subject of FINRA’s investigation.

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shutterstock_52426963-300x200According to BrokerCheck records financial advisor William Hobby (Hobby), formerly employed by UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS) has been subject to an astonishing 23 customer complaints and one employment termination for cause during the course of his career.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Hobby’s customer complaints allege that Hobby recommended unsuitable securities recommendations among other allegations of misconduct in the handling of customer accounts.

In September 2018 UBS discharged Hobby claiming that the firm’s review found that he exercised discretion in client account without written authorization, failed to escalate same client’s complaint, and worked against firm’s interests by assisting that client in efforts to procure settlement from firm.

In October 2018 a customer filed a complaint alleging that Hobby violated the securities laws by, among other things, from August 2016 to October 2018 that due to her age she should not have been labeled as an aggressive investor and suffered losses she could not afford. The alleged damages are estimated to be in excess of $5,000 and settled for $24,000.

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shutterstock_157018310-300x200According to BrokerCheck records former financial advisor James Kujawski (Kujawski), currently employed by Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise Financial) has been subject to at least seven customer complaints, one employment termination for cause, and one regulatory action.  According to records kept by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), many of the complaints against Kujawski concern allegations of unsuitable investments and material misrepresentations concerning investments being recommended.

In February 2018 Kujawski was terminated by UBS Financial Services, Inc. (UBS) after the firm claimed that Kujawski’s continued failure to disclose some of his outside business activities/outside business investments was in violation of firm policies.

Thereafter, in August 2018 FINRA brought a regulatory action against Kujawski which Kujawski consented to the findings that he engaged in a private securities transaction by facilitating the repurchase of a call option between two individuals, neither of whom were customers at his member firm.  FINRA found that Kujawski’s participation included the repurchase of the option by introducing a commercial lender to participate in the transaction, attending meetings with the parties, reviewing draft sale contracts and providing comments, and accepting $73,444.90 in compensation for his participation. Kujawski was suspended for four months and agreed to pay financial penalties.

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shutterstock_188141822-300x200The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are currently investigating Cetera Advisor Networks LLC (Cetera Advisor) broker Jaret Mutter (Mutter). According to BrokerCheck Records, Mutter is currently subject to a pending regulatory matter in which the Virginia State Corporation Commission (VSCC) has sanctioned Mutter for the violation of various securities laws. Mutter has also been subject to seven customer disputes, one of which is still pending.  The majority of these disputes concern the misrepresentation and unsuitable recommendation of investments in Unit Investment Trusts (UITs).

In April 2018, VSCC placed a Special Supervision Order on Mutter due to numerous disclosures and complaints from customers at Cetera Advisor, Mutter’s firm of employment. Consequently, Mutter has been placed under special supervision for a year.

In addition, Mutter has been subject to multiple customer disputes. Most recently, in May 2015, a customer alleged that Mutter misrepresented investments to the customer and placed the customer in investments that were unsuitable to their investment portfolio and objectives. The customer was awarded $50,310 in damages.

shutterstock_156764942-200x300The securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating claims against UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS Financial) broker Samuel Rankin (Rankin). According to BrokerCheck records, Rankin has been subject to eight customer complaints, two of which are still pending. The majority of these complaints concern the misallocation of customers’ funds into unsuitable investments.

Most recently, in September 2017, a customer alleged that from 2015 to 2016, Rankin misallocated funds into highly risky investments which were unsuitable to the customer’s needs.  The customer is requesting $849,221 for damages. This dispute is still pending.

In August 2017, a customer alleged that from 2009 to 2017, Rankin misallocated retirement funds into aggressive investments that were unsuitable to the customers’ needs and violated their written agreement to placement in only moderate-risk investments. This dispute is still pending.

shutterstock_159036452-257x300Securities attorneys at Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS Financial) broker David Watkins (Watkins). According to BrokerCheck records, Watkins has been subject to two customer disputes, one of which is still pending. In addition, Watkins has been subject to two tax liens. The majority of these disputes concern unsuitable recommendations in bonds, stocks, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

In August 2017, a customer alleges that from May 2013 to October 2016, Watkins recommended for the customer to buy fixed-income securities and ETFs which were unsuitable to the customers investment needs. The customer has requested $5,000,000 in damages. This dispute is currently still pending.

In September 2015, a customer alleged that from January 2011 to August 2015, Watkins placed the customer in bonds that were unsuitable to the customer and not rated AA or higher as the customer had approved. The case settled for $60,000.

shutterstock_103681238-300x300Our securities fraud attorneys are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against David Fagenson (Fagenson) currently associated with Newbridge Securities Corporation (Newbridge) alleging Fagenson engaged in a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and unauthorized trading among other claims.  According to BrokerCheck, Fagenson currently has nine customer complaints, one criminal matter, two regulatory actions, and one employment termination for cause.

In September 2016 UBS terminated Fagenson after a review found that while on heightened supervision Fagenson violated firm policy by exercising time and price discretion, texting with clients and engaging in short term trading of preferred shares.  Also in September 2016 a customer alleged that from 2013 through 2016 that Fagenson engaged in unauthorized trading and gave stop loss orders that were not entered.  The complaint is currently pending.

In April 2011 Fagenson was sanctioned by the state of Florida for failing to disclose a criminal matter on his record that was required to be disclosed.

shutterstock_183554579The securities fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker William Carlton (Carlton). According to BrokerCheck records Carlton has been the subject of at least five customer complaints and two judgments or liens. The customer complaints against Carlton allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and misrepresentations among other claims.

The most recent customer complaint filed in October 2015 alleged unsuitable recommendations and concentrated positions in mutual funds, ETFs, and equity investments alleging losses of $1,264,355 in damages. The claim is still pending. Another claim was filed in January 2015 and alleged unsuitable concentrated positions in real estate limited partnerships and oil and gas stocks. In addition, Carlton has a tax lien of $132,060 that was filed in October 2014. Brokers are required to disclose financial matters that impact their personal finances. Substantial judgements and liens on a broker’s record can reveal a financial incentive for the broker to recommend high commission products or services. A broker’s inability to handle their personal finances has also been found to be relevant in helping investors determine if they should allow the broker to handle their finances.

Brokers have a responsibility treat investors fairly which includes obligations such as making only suitable investments for the client. In order to make a suitable recommendation the broker must meet certain requirements. First, there must be reasonable basis for the recommendation the product or security based upon the broker’s investigation and due diligence into the investment’s properties including its benefits, risks, tax consequences, and other relevant factors. Second, the broker then must match the investment as being appropriate for the customer’s specific investment needs and objectives such as the client’s retirement status, long or short term goals, age, disability, income needs, or any other relevant factor.

shutterstock_160486019According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) broker Lucian Hodgman (Hodgman) has been the subject of at least 4 customer complaints, 4 regulatory action, and three employment terminations. Customers have filed complaints against Fladell alleging securities law violations including churning and excessive trading, unsuitable investments, and unauthorized trades among other claims.

Nearly all of the regulatory actions and brokerage firm terminations revolve around allegations of dishonest conduct. For instance in 2001, UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS) discharged Hodgman stating that he mpurchased a mutual fund in a client’s account without the client’s authority. In April 2002, the NASD alleged that Hodgman effected transactions in a customer’s account without the customer’s knowledge. In 2013, brokerage firm Moors & Cabot, Inc terminated Hodgman stating that the broker failed to cooperate with the firm’s investigation of marketing materials that were sent out to customers without the firm’s knowledge or approval. Thereafter, in December 2013, the Maine Office of Securities alleged that Hodgman made false statements in a record filed with the office in connection with his application to apply to the brokerage firm, Investors Capital Corp. In March 2014, Investors Capital Corp. discharged Hodgman stating that the firm determined that Hodgman was not truthful to the Maine Office of Securities. Thereafter, the state of Massachuestts initiated an action against Hodgman concerning his advertising in the state.

With this history in mind in June 2015, FINRA suspended Hodgman for 18 months alleging that between May and July 2013, Hodgman caused approximately 40,000 copies of advertisement postcards to be sent out through a third-party marketing company without approval of Moors & Cabot. According to FINRA, the postcards contained information about investing in fixed annuities that violated industry standards by failing to provide a sound basis for evaluating an investment in fixed annuities. In addition, FINRA alleged that in July and August 2013, Hodgman falsely represented to his firm that the marketing company had mailed the postcards prematurely and without Hodgman’s knowledge or authorization. To bolster this story, FINRA claims that Hodgman made a telephone call to a Moors & Cabot compliance officer impersonating a representative of the marketing company.

shutterstock_178801082According to broker Adamson Wright’s (Wright) Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) BrokerCheck records the representative was recently sanctioned concerning allegations that from May 2010 through February 2011, he effected approximately 249 mismarked order tickets as being “unsolicited” orders when the trades were “solicited” causing the firm to maintain inaccurate books and records.

Respondent Wright entered the securities industry in 1995 with UBS Financial Services Inc. until January 2010. In January 2010, Wright became registered with Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise) and then was terminated from Ameriprise in June 2011. In July 2011, Wright became registered with InterCarolina Financial Services Inc.

In addition, at least five customer complaints have been filed against Wright alleging unsuitable investments and unauthorized discretionary trading. These complaints include allegations involving unsuitable options trading. Two clients alleged an unsuitable purchase of China Agritech (CAGC). The number of complaints made by investors against Wright is relatively large by industry standards. According to InvestmentNews, only about 12% of financial advisors have any type of disclosure event on their records. Far fewer brokers have multiple customer complaints approaching the number of complaints made against Wright. Brokers must disclose different types of events, not necessarily all of which are customer complaints. These disclosures can include IRS tax liens, judgments, and even criminal matters.

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