Articles Tagged with UBS

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority panel (FINRA) has awarded one of our clients, a 91-year-old widow, $550K in her Texas broker-dealer fraud case against UBS Financial Services (UBS). The claimant, who is from Texas, contends in her Houston senior investor fraud case that because her UBS broker made unsuitable investments on her behalf, she lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in her retirement accounts.

While the FINRA arbitration award doesn’t name the broker, Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas lawyer David Miller identified him as former UBS broker William Andrew Hightower. Attorney Miller said that Hightower, who headed up Hightower Capital Group, recommended that the claimant invest in leveraged and inverse exchange traded products and structured products,  as well as his own private investments. These investments were not suitable for her.

Hightower is now accused of operating a $10M Ponzi fraud. Among the unsuitable investments that he made on our client’s  behalf were those involving private placements Reproductive Research Technologies and Isospec Technologies, which were part of his alleged scam, and one fake private annuity.

Two different groups of investors were recently awarded nearly $9.3 million in their respective Puerto Rico bond fraud claims against UBS Financial Services (UBS). These are just the latest Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration claims where the Swiss giant and its Puerto Rico-based brokerage firm have been ordered to pay customers after selling over $10 billion of closed-end funds that were heavily invested in the island’s municipal debt. To date, UBS has paid hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars to investors in either arbitration awards or settlements.

In one of these latest Puerto Rico investor fraud cases, the claimants are three investors and their related businesses and trusts. The customer claimants contend that UBS violated FINRA’s rules and the U.S. territory’s securities laws, as well as committed other fraudulent acts. Now, the FINRA arbitration panel has awarded them $4.25 million in compensatory damages, interest, and $170,000 for costs.

In the other Puerto Rico bond fraud claim, the claimants were customers alleging constructive fraud, common law fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, negligent misrepresentation, negligent supervision, breach of contract, and fraudulent concealment. The FINRA arbitration panel awarded them $4.8 million in damages.

Former Cetera Broker Allegedly Engaged in Outside Business Activities

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced that it is barring Nina Jessee, a former Cetera Advisors broker. The bar comes after Jessee failed to cooperate with the self-regulatory organization (SRO), which was investigating complaints about her related to alternative investments, including allegations that she had engaged in business activities that were not authorized outside of the brokerage firm.

With more than 30 years in the industry, Jessee has also been a registered broker at five other broker-dealers, including Investors Capital Corp., Financial Securities Network, NAP Financial Corporation, Marketing One Securities, and Mutual of Omaha Fund Management Company.

The City of Birmingham Retirement and Relief System and the Electrical Workers Pension System Local 103 have filed a proposed class action securities fraud lawsuit accusing a number of big banks of colluding with one another to rig the prices of Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (Freddie Mac) and Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) unsecured bonds. The defendants in the case include JP Morgan (JPM), Bank of America (BAC), Citigroup (C), Barclays Bank (BARC), Deutsche Bank (DB), Credit Suisse (CS), UBS (UBS), Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas Securities Corp., FTN Financial Securities, Goldman Sachs (GS), and First Tennessee Bank.

According to Law360, the plaintiffs contend that the bank took advantage of the dark market nature of the “private, ‘over the counter’ (OTC) market” where these bonds are bought and sold to get investors to buy the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae bonds at prices that were “artificially high.”

Fannie and Freddie are both government-backed mortgage-finance companies. They are typically known for converting mortgages into mortgage-backed securities. This investor fraud lawsuit, however, is focused on their unsecured bonds. The proposed class contends that investors purchased the bonds because they thought they were safe, liquid, low risk, and likely to make returns. Their complaint states that the plaintiffs and other investors had not expected the “overcharges and underpayments” that resulted because of the banks’ alleged collusion.

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has suspended David Howard Fagenson, a former UBS Financial Services (UBS) broker, for eight months. Fagenson, now registered with Newbridge Securities, is accused of unsuitable trading in the accounts of three older clients.

The allegedly excessive trades are said to have created significant losses for the UBS customers, even as Fagenson and the brokerage firm made hundreds of thousands of dollars in commissions and markups for the same transactions. The settlement between the self-regulatory authority (SRO) and the ex-UBS broker states that the trading violations took place between January 2012 and September 2016.

FINRA said that the senior investors that the ex-UBS broker harmed included a 95-year-old widow with an over $5M net worth who had numerous accounts at the firm. While her brokerage account purportedly lost $283K during the period at issue, she paid $260K in markups and commissions.

The US government has filed a civil lawsuit against UBS AG and a number of its UBS-based affiliates accusing them of defrauding investors who purchased residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) from the firm in the two years prior to the 2008 economic crisis. UBS purportedly securitized over $41B of mortgage loans in deals that ended up becoming “catastrophic failures.”

According to a news release by the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, which was published by the US Department of Justice, the federal government is alleging that UBS:

• Misled investors about the quality of billions of dollars worth of Alt-A and subprime mortgage loans that were backing 40 RMBS deals.

SHEPHERD SMITH EDWARDS & KANTAS LLP INVESTIGATING CLAIMS INVOLVING William A. HIGHTOWER, UBS FINANCIAL SERVICES INC. and Legacy Asset Securities, INC.

Baytown, Texas – September 6, 2018

Lawyers with the Securities Law Firm of SHEPHERD SMITH EDWARDS & KANTAS LLP, www.sseklaw.com, are investigating claims involving William A. Hightower, UBS Financial Services Inc. and Legacy Asset Securities, Inc.  Hightower worked as a broker throughout Texas for almost two decades, with his most recent two positions at UBS and Legacy starting in 2007.  It appears that, starting in 2009, Hightower engaged in a series of improper private securities transactions including sales of stock in Hightower Capital and “private annuities” between Hightower and his customers.  In 2015, Hightower was barred from the financial services industry by FINRA for failing to cooperate with an investigation and is currently under criminal investigation for securities fraud.

A former UBS (UBS) banking official is claiming that Wall Street banks like his previous employer played a key role in the Puerto Rico economic crisis that has left the U.S. territory more than $70 billion in debt and mired in bankruptcy-like proceedings. The ex-UBS official, Carlos Capacete, was interviewed as part of a joint NPR and FRONTLINE probe.  Capacete worked for UBS Puerto Rico (UBS-PR) for over a quarter of a century and was the head of the biggest UBS branch on the island in Hato Rey.  At one point, Capacete oversaw $3 billion in client assets. Capacete left UBS in 2014 shortly after the crash in Puerto Rico bonds.

Prior to the market crash, Puerto Rico bonds and closed-end bond funds were highly profitable sales products for UBS and other banks on the island. While trying to prevent a government shutdown a number of years back, the U.S. territory started to borrow to pay for yearly government costs. This added $48 billion of debt in 14 years, reports PBS and FRONTLINE.

The Puerto Rico Debt Crisis Only Increased as Banks Made More Money 

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority panel has awarded five people $521,000 in compensatory damages in their Puerto Rico bond fraud case against UBS Financial Services (UBS) and UBS Financial Services Inc. of Puerto Rico (UBS-PR). The claimants had accused the financial firm of securities fraud, constructive fraud, common law fraud, negligent supervision, breach of fiduciary duty, and violating the Puerto Rico Uniform Securities Act.

UBS has been the subject of hundreds of FINRA arbitration claims brought by thousands of investors who sustained losses from Puerto Rico bonds and closed-end bonds, with many UBS-PR customers contending that they sustained massive losses because these investments were inappropriately recommended to them. To date, the financial firm has been ordered to pay or agreed to pay in settlements hundreds of millions of dollars to investors, with more claims still pending.

For over four years, our Puerto Rico bond fraud law firm has worked with investors on the island and the U.S. to help those investors recover their losses from losses in Puerto Rico securities. Contact Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas today to request your free, no obligation consultation.

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UBS, AG (UBS) says that it intends to nominate BlueMountain Capital Management Executive Jes Staley to its board in May. Staley formerly served as a JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) executive.

In a statement, UBS Chairman Axel Weber said that Staley is perfect for the role due to his professional expertise from working in global banking leadership roles for three decades. However, that may not be the only reason.

Earlier this year, BlueMountain, which is a New York-based hedge fund, joined a legal challenge against a law that would let some of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s agencies restructure their massive debt. UBS Puerto Rico (UBS-PR) is one of the banks accused of inappropriately placing clients’ money into closed-end funds that had high exposure to Puerto Rico municipal bonds.

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