UBS Broker Jose Ramirez: Update For Investors

According to The Bond Buyer online, former Puerto Rico UBS broker Jose Ramirez was found to have violated securities laws when he put his customers into Puerto Rico closed-end funds, according to a federal judge. The judge ruled April 30th that Ramirez committed fraud to warrant a partial summary judgment against him, according to information from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC charged Ramirez in September 2015, alleging that he misled customers about the safety of the closed-end funds, and gave himself $2.8 million of that, while convincing the customers to use proceeds from lines of credit with UBS Bank to purchase shares in the Puerto Rican bond funds. Ramirez allegedly lied to his customers about this. When credit downgrades began happening on the island in 2013, Ramirez’s customers were subject to maintenance calls of over $37, much of which they could not pay. Ramirez had previously been a top-performing producer at UBS.

According to public, online records, Jose Gabriel Ramirez was previously registered with Painewebber, Prudential, UBS in San Juan, Puerto Rico from March 1997 until February 2014, and UBS in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico from March 1997 until February 2014. He has 75 disclosures against him, and has been permanently barred from the industry by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).

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Update For Puerto Rico Municipal Bond Victims in the Wake of Puerto Rico’s Bankruptcy Filing

Recently, Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy, which is the largest filing in U.S. Municipal history. Stoltmann Law Offices is interested in speaking to those clients who have invested with UBS in Puerto Rico closed-end municipal bonds. UBS and its brokers recommended and sold the bonds, which were closely tied to the performance of Puerto Rico’s economy and not suitable for all investors. Many of the brokers did not understand or disclose the risks associated with these bonds, which led to investors losing a lot of money. The UBS brokers also overconcentrated portfolios in these bonds, leading to losses as well. We are securities attorneys based in Chicago, Illinois who have represented dozens of clients who have lost money in Puerto Rican closed-end bond funds. Please call us today at 312-332-4200 for a free consultation with an attorney about whether we may be able to help you bring a claim against UBS in the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis to help you recover your losses.

Update For Investors: Ramiro Colon; UBS; Miami, Florida

Stoltmann Law Offices continues to investigate Ramiro Colon, a Miami, Florida-based broker with UBS Financial Services. Colon has received one regulatory sanction, one customer complaint and 24 pending customer complaints, according to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). He has been accused of failing in a supervisory capacity, failing to supervise, and “failing reasonably to supervise an individual with a view to preventing and detecting the individual’s violations of federal securities laws from 2011 through 2013,”” among other violations. These are all against securities rules. Mr. Colon’s firm, UBS, may be liable for investment losses because the firm has a duty to reasonably supervise him. Please call us today at 312-332-4200 if you suffered Colon losses. The call is free with no obligation. We take cases on a contingency fee basis only.

Colon was registered with Citicorp Financial Services, First Chicago Capital Markets, Marketing One Securities, Popular Securities, R-G Investments Corp and UBS in Ponce, Puerto Rico from November 2006 until February 2015. He is currently registered with UBS in Miami, Florida and has been since November 2006.

Update For Victims of Puerto Rico Bond Fund Fraud

UBS and other brokerage firms have already paid $226 million as a way of resolving damage claims tied to the sales of collapsed Puerto Rico bonds and bond funds. There have been 1,874 cases filed against the firms in arbitration since late 2013, and 42% have been completed through settlements or awards. Puerto Rico’s wealth management arm has paid out $142.6 million, or 63% of resolved claim payments made since the fourth quarter of 2013. They are respondents or defendants in 76% of the 1,083 claims still pending and have prevailed in five of the 25 arbitration decisions, according to a study done by the Securities Litigation & Consulting Group. Other brokerage firms with outstanding claims against Puerto Rico bond funds are Puerto Rico-based units of Merrill Lynch and Santander Securities, also Popular Securities and Oriental Financial Services Corp. Their parent companies are also based in the territory. If you were sold unsuitable closed-end Puerto Rico bond funds by your broker and brokerage firm, you may be able to sue the brokerage firm on a contingency fee basis to recover your losses. Please call 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney for free about your options.

Another Bit Hit For UBS Because of Puerto Rican Bond Fund Overconcentration: What Investors Can Do

Another arbitration claim was filed on Friday against UBS for its sale of closed-end Puerto Rican bond funds for $8.5 million. The firm continues to get hit with arbitration claims for its sale of the funds, which were not suitable for many investors. According to the most recent claim, the claimant entrusted assets to UBS in order to preserve capital. Instead, UBS concentrated the assets in Puerto Rico government bonds and Puerto Rico closed-end bond funds, which are leveraged and concentrated in the government bonds. The client was led to believe that the concentration of his assets were consistent with his low-risk tolerance. Instead, the concentration in these funds was chock full of excessive risk, given his investment objectives and risk tolerance. It is against industry rules for a broker to recommend, sell and/or over-concentrate a security if that does not coincide with the client’s risk objectives and tolerance. The broker has a duty to only recommend and sell those investments that are suitable for the client based on factors such as age, net worth and tolerance for risk. If he does not, his firm can be held liable for any investment losses the customer may sustain. UBS may be sued in the arbitration forum on a contingency fee basis because of their sale of the Puerto Rican bond funds and closed-end bond funds to help recover losses. Call us today to find out how.

UBS Rocked with Massive $18 Million Plus FINRA Arbitration Award For Fraudulent Sales Practices in Puerto Rico

UBS got hammered this week for $18 million 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

UBS Slammed For Puerto Rican Bonds Again: Elderly Clients Win $700,000 Against Brokerage Firm

UBS was hit again with another loss in an arbitration claim regarding the brokerage firm’s sale of deficient Puerto Rican bond funds. UBS has been levied with numerous arbitration claims and fines regarding the bond funds. According to the firm’s latest earnings report, total claimed damages sought by clients are almost $1.9 billion, of which $740 million has been resolved through settlements, arbitration or withdrawal of the claim. In reference to the most recent case, three Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) found UBS liable of negligence in its management of the clients’ investments and awarded $549,000 in compensatory damages to Condado Motors, a now-defunct car rental business owned by Luis Vega and his ex-wife. UBS will also pay $62,241 in costs and $39,200 in hearing session fees. The arbitrators also rejected UBS’ requests that FINRA fees and costs be paid by them and that all arbitration records be removed from the FINRA-operated CRD system. If you suffered losses with UBS Puerto Rican bond funds, or were recommended or sold the funds, please call our securities law firm today at 312-332-4200. We may be able to bring a legal claim against UBS for losses on a contingency fee basis in the FINRA arbitration forum. We have helped dozens of client recover their losses with UBS’ sale of Puerto Rican bond funds.

FINRA Panel Orders UBS to Pay Another $1 Million For Puerto Rico Bonds

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has ordered UBS Financial Services Inc. to pay an arbitration award of almost $1 million to an investor who invested in its closed-end bond funds. Ana Elisa Ciordia-Robles was awarded $751,000 in compensatory damages, plus interest, and $206,000 in attorneys’ fees and costs, according to the arbitration award announced on Friday. She claimed breach of fiduciary duty, negligent supervision and other allegations. Last year, UBS agreed to pay $34 million to settle allegations from U.S. regulators because of its lack of supervision of sales of the funds and a broker’s fraud. In 2014, claims tied to UBS Wealth Management Americas’ Puerto Rico closed-end bond municipal bond funds have risen to nearly $1 billion.

UBS Ordered to Pay $750,000 For Puerto Rico Damages

According to a recent InvestmentNews article entitled “FINRA panel directs UBS to pay $750,000 for Puerto Rico Investment Damages,” the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has ordered UBS to pay $750,000 as awards for damages tied to the island’s debt crisis continue to rise. Investors who claimed damages tied to their Puerto Rican debt investments, may be able to see $750,000 paid out by the bank’s AG wealth management business. The investors are Jose A. Rivera Riera, Desarrollos Jarra SE and Jenny Robles Adomo, who claimed fraud, recklessness and negligence concerning their investments in Puerto Rico bonds and closed-end funds. The investors are also seeking to recover commissions they paid the brokerage firm on top of damages. FINRA arbitration awards concerning investors who claim alleged negligence have climbed this year. For example, a FINRA arbitration panel ordered UBS to pay $470,000 to three investors who claimed damages because their accounts were over-concentrated in Puerto Rico bonds.

Vote by House to End Puerto Rico Securities Law Exemptions

On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would take away exemptions from federal securities law for those offered in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) administers in the U.S. Currently, Puerto Rico and the other territories have the ability to issue their own rules, Nydia Velazquez’s (D-NY) bill would be able to extend protections to citizens in the territories. The U.S. Territories Investor Protection Act of 2016, would apply federal rules to securities offered and issued only in the territories. Some of the reports have states that some issuers of securities in the country have basically become their own underwriters, packaging and selling securities without disclosing that conflict of interest.

The bill was passed on a bipartisan vote on Monday afternoon by voice, and ends one of the long-standing exemptions in the Investment Company Act for territorial securities. It also provides exemptions for closed-end investment companies, employees’ security companies and others. The bill is expected to help investors in securities get a better idea of the risks associated with them. The bill also builds a three year grace period for companies to comply with the new rules, as well as giving the SEC the power to extend that deadline. It also establishes a seven-member board with power over the island’s financial affairs, including the power to force sales of government assets and to revise budgets to line up with the board’s fiscal plan. It would also act as a gatekeeper for debtors seeking to restructure their debts in court. Only the board could decide who is actually a debtor and to file those cases in federal court. The Puerto Rican debt crisis recently showed these disclosure problems, when numerous citizens bought risky bond securities without being told how risky they actually were. This lead to the territory receiving some help, but the new bill does not provide Puerto Rico the ability to use Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, something for which the island officials had been hoping.