Articles Tagged with UBS

shutterstock_138129767-300x199The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Margaret Lech-Loubet (Lech-Loubet).  According to BrokerCheck records Lech-Loubet has been in the securities industry for 25 years and has two customer complaints on her record.  Lech-Loubet is currently registered with UBS Financial Services, Inc. (UBS) out of the firm’s Beverly Hills, California office location.  The most recent customer complaints against Lech-Loubet alleges that Lech-Loubet concentrated the client in energy related structured products and master limited partnerships (MLPs).

The most recent complaint was filed in January 2017 and alleged that from June 2014 to November 2015 the investments were not suitable and were told the investments were safer than equities.  The customer is claiming $285,582 in damages.  The claim is currently pending.

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_132704474-300x200Gana Weinstein LLP’s investment fraud attorneys are investigating multiple customer disputes filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) again broker Todd Douglas Ryman (Ryman). According to Ryman’s FINRA BrokerCheck records, there are several disclosures on his record pertaining to unauthorized trading, unsuitable trading, misrepresentation of material facts, amongst other allegations.

Ryman entered the securities industry in 1995 and currently employed at Suntrust Investment Services, Inc. since February 2017. He was previously employed at:

• Raymond James & Associates, Inc. (September 2016 – February 2017)

shutterstock_168478292Our firm has previously reported on the growing trend of brokerage firms recommending non-purpose loans secured by their brokerage accounts to clients.  See Investors Risk Big Losses with Loans Secured by Securities Collateral Accounts.  Recently, the state of Massachusetts charged Morgan Stanley with conducting unethical – high-pressure – sales contests among its financial advisers to encourage clients to take out loans.  According to newsources, from January 2014 until April 2015, the firm ran two different contests involving 30 advisers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island with the express goal of persuading customers to take out securities-based loans (SBLOCs) with their securities accounts serving as collateral.  Advisers were promised bonuses of $1,000 for 10 loans, $3,000 for 20 loans and $5,000 for 30 loans. The contest was alleged to have generated $24 million in new loans and was run despite an internal Morgan Stanley prohibition on such initiatives.

As a background, these lines of credit allow investors to borrow money using securities held in the investment accounts as collateral and allow the investor to continue to trade securities in the pledged accounts. An SBLOC typically requires monthly interest-only payments until repaid. Thus, when an investor losses a significant amount of their portfolio the investor has made very little progress in repaying the loan and may have few to no options to pay the loan back.  Recently FINRA issued an “Investor Alert” entitled “Securities-Backed Lines of Credit – It May Pay to See Beyond the Pitch” recognizing the conflicts between brokerage firms incentivized by “SBLOCs [that] can be a key revenue source for securities firms” and those same firms “placing your financial future at greater risk.”

According to Fortune, firms such as UBS, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan are recommending that their high net worth investors take out loans against their brokerage accounts at an alarming rate. The Wall Street Journal reported that securities based loans increased by 28% at UBS between 2011 and 2013. According to Fortune, a Wells Fargo advisor told the writer that the loans are so lucrative for the brokers that they refer to the money they make as their 13th production month. Another contact with Morgan Stanley reported that a regional manager would like to automatically send paperwork for loans with every single new account form.

shutterstock_176283941The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating a customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Bassam Salem (Salem).  According to BrokerCheck records Salem has been subject to at least two customer complaints.  The customer complaints against Salem allege securities law violations that including unsuitable investments, unauthorized trading, and breach of fiduciary duty among other claims.   The most recent claim involves allegations over oil and gas investments and UITs and was filed in May 2016 seeking $281,000 in damages.

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.

Salem entered the securities industry in 1986.  From 1992 through January 2011 Salem was registered with UBS Financial Services, Inc.  Finally, from January 2011 until August 2016 Salem was associated with Wunderlich Securities, Inc. out of the firm’s Birmingham, Michigan office location.

shutterstock_103681238The investment fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the employment termination filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) by Morgan Stanley involving broker Robert Beck (Beck). According to BrokerCheck records Beck is subject to three customer complaints and one employment separation for cause.

According to Morgan Stanley, the firm terminated Beck after raising concerns relating to employee’s disclosures relating to outside activities.  Often times such filings indicate that the broker is engaging potentially in private securities transactions, promissory notes, or loans away from the firm.  The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.

At this time it unclear the nature and scope of Beck’s OBAs and/or private securities transactions.  According to BrokerCheck records Beck disclosed that he is involved in outside business activities including rental property in Philadelphia.   Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, real estate brokers, or insurance agents to clients of those side practices.

shutterstock_20354401The investment fraud lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating the regulatory investigation filed by The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) against broker Zahir Walji (Walji). According to BrokerCheck records Walji is subject to five customer complaints one FINRA matter and one employment separation for cause.  The FINRA regulatory matter concerns an investigation surrounding alleged sales of private securities transactions. (FINRA No. 2012034370501).

According to FINRA, from April 2011 through October 2012, while Walji was associated with UBS Financial Services, Inc (UBS), Walji participated in two outside business activities (OBAs) and participated in six private securities transactions without providing prior written notice of the OBAs or the private securities transactions to his firm. In addition, FINRA alleged that although Walji provided notice to UBS of two additional OBAs, he did not comply with the restrictions that UBS placed on him. As a result FINRA determined that Walji violated FINRA Rules.  The providing of loans or selling of notes and other investments outside of a brokerage firm constitutes impermissible private securities transactions – a practice known in the industry as “selling away”.

At this time it unclear the nature and scope of Walji’s OBAs and private securities transactions.  According to BrokerCheck records Walji disclosed that he is involved in outside business acitvities including KML, Inc. – a real estate related company, Round Rock – a real estate company, and Triad Equities, LLC – a real estate company.  Often times, brokers sell promissory notes and other investments through side businesses as accountants, lawyers, or insurance to clients of those side practices.

shutterstock_115971289The law offices of Gana Weinstein LLP continue to report on investor related losses and potential legal remedies due to recommendations to investor in oil and gas and commodities related investments.  Customers have recently filed about five complaints with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Bradley Ross (Ross), a registered representative with UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS) out of the firm’s Fort Lauderdale, Florida office location since 2011.

The customer complaints against Ross allege a number of securities law violations including that the broker made unsuitable investments and overcenoncetrated clients in gold and commodities related investments among other claims.  The most recent complaint was filed in May 2016 and alleged over-concentration and unauthorized trading with respect to certain securities. The customer is seeking $99,000 in damages in the pending complaint.  In April 2015, a customer alleged that Ross refused to follow client’s directives, breached his fiduciary duty, executed unauthorized trades, and sold unsuitable investments. The complaint settled in December 2015 for $35,000.

Before recommending investments in oil and gas and commodities related investments, brokers and advisors must ensure that the investment is appropriate for the investor and conduct due diligence on the company in order to understand the risks and prospects of the company.  Oil and gas and commodities related investments have been recommended by brokers under the assumption that commodities prices would continue to go up.  However, brokers who sell oil and gas and commodities products are obligated to understand the risks of these investments and convey them to clients.

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_103681238The securities lawyers of Gana Weinstein LLP are investigating customer complaints filed with The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) against broker Lance Slater (Slater). According to BrokerCheck records there are at least 2 customer complaints against Slater and one employment separation. The most recent customer complaint against Slater alleges that from 2013 Slater borrowed $210,000 from the client and then tried to hide that fact from her children and has not since then paid the client back. The client also alleges that Slater engaged in unsuitable investments and excessive trading.

Shortly thereafter Morgan Stanley discharged Slater making allegations Slater failed to adhere to the firm’s guidance regarding certain sales activity and possible involvement in an unreported loan from a customer while at a prior firm.

As a background, when brokers engage in excessive trading, sometimes referred to as churning, the broker will typical trade in and out of securities, sometimes even the same stock, many times over a short period of time. Often times the account will completely “turnover” every month with different securities. This type of investment trading activity in the client’s account serves no reasonable purpose for the investor and is engaged in only to profit the broker through the generation of commissions created by the trades. Churning is considered a species of securities fraud. The elements of the claim are excessive transactions of securities, broker control over the account, and intent to defraud the investor by obtaining unlawful commissions. A similar claim, excessive trading, under FINRA’s suitability rule involves just the first two elements. Certain commonly used measures and ratios used to determine churning help evaluate a churning claim. These ratios look at how frequently the account is turned over plus whether or not the expenses incurred in the account made it unreasonable that the investor could reasonably profit from the activity.

shutterstock_176198786The securities and investment attorneys of Gana Weinstein LLP are interested in speaking with clients of Evan Wuhl (Wuhl). According to the BrokerCheck records kept by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Wuhl has been the subject of at least 15 customer complaints and 1 employment termination. The customer complaints against Wuhl allege securities law violations that claim unsuitable investments among other claims. Many of the more recent claims appear to involve allegations of unsuitable leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds (Non-Traditional ETFs) and mutual funds.

In December 2011, Wuhl voluntarily resigned from UBS Financial Services Inc. (UBS) under circumstances where it was alleged that Wuhl worked client orders inconsistent with firm policy and industry rules concerning two clients’ use of credit lines to purchase securities.

The most recent customer complaint was filed in September 2012 alleging that Wuhl inappropriately recommended multiple shares of an inverse-leveraged ETF and then liquidated the trades without authorization from July 2008 through January 2010 resulting in damages of $277,180. The case was resolved for $220,000.