Articles Tagged with UBS Financial

shutterstock_26269225This is the second regulatory action that our firm has tracked concerning brokerage firms recommending concentrated positions in Puerto Rico bond funds without having appropriate supervisory system and procedures designed to identify and review concentrated securities purchases in Puerto Rico closed-end funds.

As we reported, The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned Popular Securities, Inc. (Popular Securities) alleging between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2013, Popular failed to establish and enforce a supervisory system and procedures designed to identify and review concentrated securities purchases in Puerto Rico municipal bonds and Puerto Rico closed-end funds. Now in a similar action, FINRA alleged that between July 1, 2011, and June 30, 2013, Oriental Financial Services Corp. (Oriental) failed to establish, maintain, and enforce, supervisory systems and procedures to identify and review concentrated securities purchases in Puerto Rico municipal bonds and Puerto Rico closed-end bond funds.

Oriental has been a F]NRA member since 1993 and is a subsidiary of OFG Bancorp. Oriental operates out of headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico and engages in a general securities business that focuses on Puerto Rico municipal securities and open and closed-end mutual funds. Oriental has 50 brokers located in 12 branch offices.

shutterstock_12144202The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) sanctioned and barred broker David Lavine (Lavine) concerning allegations that Lavine engage in private securities transactions also known as “selling away.” FINRA Rule 8210 authorizes the regulator to require persons associated with a FINRA member to provide information with respect to any matter involved in the investigation.

In October 2014, FINRA alleged that it pursued an investigation into allegations that Lavine (i) exceeded the scope of an approved outside business activity and potentially engaged in an unapproved private securities transaction; and (ii) failed to timely disclose several reportable financial events. FINRA requested that Lavine provide documents and information on or before November 14, 2014. On December 2, 2014, FINRA stated that Lavine, through his counsel, requested an extension of time to respond but ultimately failed to provide the responsive documents and information and informed FINRA that he would not provide information at any time.

According to Lavine’s brokercheck his disclosed outside business activities include Angel Flight South Central and LAKAP, LLC. It is unclear at this time if FINRA’s investigation concerned Lavine’s participation in these enterprises.

shutterstock_151894877The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP has recently filed securities arbitration case on behalf of an investor against UBS Financial Services, Inc. and UBS Financial Services, Inc. of Puerto Rico (UBS) involving allegations that UBS’ misleading sales tactics and inappropriate recommendations surrounding Puerto Rico bonds in the Claimant’s portfolio. According to the complaint, UBS encouraged a 26 year-old unemployed single mother to invest her life savings in just three Puerto Rico municipal bonds—Puerto Rico Employees Retirement System Bonds (ERS Bond), Puerto Rico Commonwealth Public Buildings Authority Bonds (Commonwealth Bond), and Puerto Rico Industrial, Tourist, Educational, Medical and Environmental Control Facilities Financing Authority (AFICA) Industrial Revenue Refunding Bonds (AFICA Bond). In addition, the complaint alleged that UBS recommended that the Claimant take out significant loans to leverage up her investment in these three bonds that were all hovering just above junk status.

The Claimant is a 26 year-old single mother, dedicates all of her time towards caring for her eighteen-month-old daughter. Unfortunately, the Claimant’s father passed away in October 2010 causing Claimant to receive life insurance proceeds from his passing. The Claimant used some of those proceeds to pay off the debts that she had accrued over the years and sought to use the remaining portion to invest for the future of her and her daughter.

Claimant alleged that UBS completely disregarded the risks inherent to the Puerto Rico municipal bonds and constructed a portfolio comprised solely of these soon-to-be-defunct securities. Claimant’s brokers Ramon M. Almonte (Almonte) and Juan E. Goytia (Goytia), recommended an approximate 130% concentration, through the use of leverage, in municipal debt. Claimant alleged that the bonds were portrayed as safe, secure, fixed-income securities that would preserve her principal while providing tax-free income. Contrary to UBS’ portrayal, the bonds recommended are volatile investments carrying a multitude of risks. According to the complaint UBS’ unsuitable recommendations and inappropriate asset allocation ultimately cost the Claimant most of her money.