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Home > Blog > Monthly Archives: December 2016

Monthly Archives: December 2016

UBS Financial Fires Top Connecticut Broker Phil G. Fiore, Jr.

As reported this week in the Investment News (“UBS Fires Top Connecticut Broker Phil Fiore Jr. for Multiple Violations”), UBS Financial Services Inc. has fired Phil G. Fiore Jr., a top broker based in Stamford, Conn., for the violation of firm policies while he was under heightened supervision.

Mr. Fiore was reportedly a senior vice president and part of the FDG Institutional Consulting Group, as well as one of the top-ranked advisers in Connecticut, according to last year’s ranking by Barron’s magazine.

A review of Mr. Fiore’s registration records with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) indicates that he was discharged at the end of November for violating UBS policies, including not disclosing an unpaid directorship at a not-for profit entity affiliated with a client; not seeking approval to operate a charity golf tournament; not seeking firm approval to make blog posts; and for failing to disclose to UBS that a new client had made an investment in Mr. Fiore’s approved outside business.

Mr. Fiore, who had been a broker at UBS since 2009, has five (5) customer complaint disclosure events indicated on his FINRA registration report – complaints which had alleged misrepresentation, churning, unsuitable trading and failure to follow instructions.

In addition, his FINRA registration report indicates that he has been the subject of two regulatory events including:

A May 2015 suspension, for thirty (30) days, by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. for having an outside business activity and acting as a business consultant at an electric utility company without providing specific written notice to UBS; and

A December 2015 conditional registration stipulation, with the Massachusetts Securities Division, which required UBS to supervise his activities, on a heightened basis, for eighteen (18) months; prohibited him from exercising discretion over retail accounts for Massachusetts individuals; and which prohibited him from having any principal or supervisory duties.

If you are an individual or institutional investor who has any concerns about your accounts and/or investments with UBS Financial Services, please contact us for a no-cost and no-obligation evaluation of your specific facts and circumstances. You may have a viable claim for recovery of your investment losses by filing an individual securities arbitration claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

UBS Loses Massive Arbitration Case

In early December, 2016, UBS was hit with an $18 million arbitration award because of various breaches of duties regarding its sale of poor performing Puerto Rican bonds. The Claimant in the case alleged breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, negligence, negligent supervision, unsuitable investments and strategy, failure to supervise and the failure to comply with the requirements set forth in the “Laws of Banks of Puerto Rico.” The causes of action relate to the Claimant’s investments in Puerto Rico closed-end mutual funds concentrated in Puerto Rico bonds heavily peddled by UBS brokers. The Panel awarded $12.7 million in compensatory damages, $2.5 million in interest, $163,000 in expert witness fees and $3.1 million in attorney fees. It is the largest award to date against UBS for the sales of the Puerto Rico bond funds. The entire award can be viewed at the link below.

http://www.finra.org/sites/default/files/aao_documents/14-02464.pdf

If you are an individual or institutional investor who has any concerns about your accounts and/or investments with UBS, please contact us for a no-cost and no-obligation evaluation of your specific facts and circumstances. You may have a viable claim for recovery of your investment losses by filing an individual securities arbitration claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

Merrill Lynch Slammed by FINRA over Loan Management Account Deficiencies

On November 30, 2016, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it had fined Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. $6.25 million and ordered the firm to pay approximately $780,000 in restitution for inadequately supervising its customers’ use of leverage in their Merrill brokerage accounts.

According to the FINRA press release, Merrill “loan management accounts” (LMAs) are lines of credit that allow the firm’s customers to borrow money from an affiliated bank using the securities held in their brokerage accounts as collateral. FINRA found that from January 2010 through November 2014, Merrill lacked adequate supervisory systems and procedures regarding its customers’ use of proceeds from these LMAs. More specifically, FINRA found that although both Merrill policy and the terms of the non-purpose LMA agreements prohibited customers from using LMA proceeds to buy many types of securities, the firm’s supervisory systems and procedures were not reasonably designed to detect or prevent such use. FINRA further found that during the relevant period, on thousands of occasions, Merrill brokerage accounts collectively bought hundreds of millions of dollars of securities within 14 days after receiving incoming transfers of LMA proceeds.

FINRA separately found that from January 2010 through July 2013, Merrill lacked adequate supervisory systems and procedures to ensure the suitability of transactions in certain Puerto Rican securities, including municipal bonds and closed-end funds, where customers’ holdings were highly concentrated in such securities and highly leveraged through either LMAs or margin. FINRA further found that during the relevant period, 25 leveraged customers with modest net worths and conservative or moderate investment objectives, and with 75 percent or more of their account assets invested in Puerto Rican securities, suffered aggregate losses of nearly $1.2 million as a result of liquidating those securities to meet margin calls. Merrill has already reimbursed some customers and, as part of the settlement, will pay approximately $780,000 in restitution to the remaining 22 customers affected.

If you are an individual or institutional investor who has any concerns about your accounts and/or investments with Merrill Lynch, please contact us for a no-cost and no-obligation evaluation of your specific facts and circumstances. You may have a viable claim for recovery of your investment losses by filing an individual securities arbitration claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).


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