A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Panel has ruled that UBS must pay claimant Antonio Gnocchi Franco $204,000 in compensatory damages and $66,000 in costs for his Puerto Rico bond fraud case. Franco, a Puerto Rico resident who was also the trustee of his law firm’s pension plan, accused the brokerage firm of negligence, misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, unauthorized trading, unsuitability, overconcentration, failure to supervise, unauthorized use of loan facilities, and unjust enrichment. According to the complaint, UBS had recommended that Franco invest in UBS bond funds and Puerto Rico bonds.
This customer win is yet another in a long line of customer wins against UBS for its investment and brokerage services provided in Puerto Rico. To date, FINRA arbitrators have ordered UBS to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to investors and UBS has paid many hundreds of millions more in settlements. Recently, UBS Puerto Rico and UBS Financial Services lost another Puerto Rico bond fraud case and were ordered to pay five former customers $521,000 in compensatory damages.
In total, UBS has been named in FINRA arbitration claims brought by thousands of investors that lost money from investing in UBS-packaged bond funds and Puerto Rico bonds. UBS Puerto Rico brokers, especially, have come under fire for allegedly recommending customers concentrate their investments in UBS Puerto Rico products, even when they were not suitable for customers in almost any amount. Moreover, many of these investors have alleged that UBS encouraged them to borrow against their own accounts so that customers could invest more. For example, the firm’s financial representatives are accused of advising clients to leverage their accounts and use them as collateral, sometimes for the purposes of purchasing even more UBS investments. This is a practice that should have never happened.
While all this turmoil is going on with investors, the island is suffering. The devastation left behind in Puerto Rico last year by Hurricane Maria has not helped in the economic recovery of the island or its people. News reports indicate that the U.S. territory is now pitching multinational companies for investments, noting that it defaulted on its debt and is still working hard to restore power throughout the island. Puerto Rico owes more than $70 billion in debt. Last year, it filed for bankruptcy-like protections.
At Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas, we continue to work with investors on the island and the mainland in pursuing their Puerto Rico bond fraud claims. Contact us today for your free consultation.
UBS ordered to pay $204,000 in Puerto Rican bond claim, InvestmentNews, March 20, 2018
Puerto Rico pitches for investment after hurricane, St Lucia Star, March 21, 2018
More Blog Posts from SSEK Law Firm:
UBS Must Pay Five Clients $521,000 Over Puerto Rico Bond Fraud, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, February 21, 2018
Hedge Funds Get Rid of Puerto Rico General Obligation Bonds After Hurricane Maria, Stockbroker Fraud Blog, November 22, 2017
Fund Manager Accused of Losing $178M in Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities is Barred from the Industry, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, February 16, 2018