UBS and Star Broker Hit with $2.5 Million FINRA Award

On Tuesday, UBS was ordered to pay $2.5 million to a San Juan couple who invested in Puerto Rico bond funds that plummeted in value when the island commonwealth’s financial crisis hit. The couple had requested up to $6 million in damages. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has so far ordered the bank to pay almost $1.5 million out of the $5.8 million requested by investors in the funds. 900 cases have been filed against UBS for the sale of the bond funds, and Puerto Rico faced its first-ever municipal-bond default just this month. Already, the bank faces up to $1.1 billion in damages.

UBS brokers told clients that the funds were safe, when, in fact, they were not, and sold to investors under false pretenses. When the funds went down in mid-2013, the Puerto Rico bond issuers used leverage, a risky strategy, to improve returns on the defaulting funds. By later 2013, almost $3 billion of the funds’ market value was gone. Jose Ramirez, a former UBS broker who sold the funds, was fired from the bank and is currently under a criminal investigation by the Justice Department. Another broker, Ramiro Colon, is under scrutiny by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for failure to supervise.

Stoltmann Law Offices has represented dozens of investors who lost money in Puerto Rican bond funds sold by UBS and by brokers such as Jose Ramirez. If you lost money in Puerto Rican bond funds, you may be entitled to recover some of your financial losses. Please call our securities law firm based in Chicago, Illinois at 312-332-4200 to speak with an attorney. The call is free with no obligation. We sue firms such as UBS in the FINRA arbitration forum to help investors recover their financial losses. Please call soon as time is of the essence.

UBS Ordered to Pay $250,000 for Puerto Rican Bond Funds

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) ordered UBS to pay $250,000 to two former clients regarding the sale of municipal bonds and closed-end funds in Puerto Rico. One of the clients, Mr. Ramis, had a portfolio with his UBS broker, Jose Ramirez Jr., that was overconcentrated in closed-end funds. UBS also allowed Mr. Ramis to put $1 million of a non-purpose loan into the closed-end fund. Typically, non-purpose loans are not used for investors to invest in securities. The Department of Justice is currently looking in to this practice. The Puerto Rican funds suffered massive losses in 2013 and many investors lost a significant amount of money. Mr. Ramis lost an alleged $650,000. In total, UBS claims damages sought by clients exceeds $1.1 billion. Mr. Ramirez has since been terminated from UBS and barred from the industry.

Stoltmann Law Offices represents investors from all over the country and Puerto Rico who invested money in UBS Puerto Rican bond funds. If you did so, or know someone who has, please call us in Chicago at 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney about your options of suing UBS for investment losses. The call is free with no obligation. We take cases against UBS on a contingency fee basis only.

Emails Prove UBS Warned of Puerto Rico Loan Practices

According to a Reuters article on Tuesday, more than two years before UBS AG made a $5.2 million settlement over Puerto Rican bond fund sales, a branch manager urged customers to engage in improper loan practices. Documents seen by Reuters show that UBS advisers told investors to use their brokerage accounts as collateral to borrow money and buy closed-end bond funds that performed poorly. UBS branch manager Carlos Capacete wrote a series of emails in 2012 and 2013 about employees at the Guaynabo UBS branch engaging in improper loan practices. Those funds lost almost two-thirds of their value between March 2011 and October 2013. The emails were addressed to regional manager Doel Garcia, and stated that Capacete urged compliance director Mariela Torres to investigate the loans in question. It is not clear as to whether Torres responded to the emails.

As of last week, the Justice Department opened a criminal inquiry as to whether customers and a UBS adviser “used non-purpose loans to invest in closed-end fund securities in violation of their loan agreements and UBS policies.” In this case, rules that limit the amount of debt that investors can use are civil, but violating the rules is a criminal matter. The bank’s $5.2 million settlement with Puerto Rico’s financial regulator for improper loan practices was settled in October. UBS also stated they would better supervise six brokers who allegedly directed their clients to borrow money to purchase the funds.

Stoltmann Law Offices represents investors from all over the country and Puerto Rico who invested money in UBS Puerto Rican bond funds. If you did so, or know someone who has, please call us in Chicago at 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney about your options of suing UBS for investment losses. The call is free with no obligation. We take cases against UBS on a contingency fee basis only.

Update for Victims of Jose Ramirez

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating former UBS employee, Jose Ramirez, a financial adviser with the firm who was fired last year. Allegedly, Mr. Ramirez advised clients to take loans from UBS to buy funds from the bank underpinned by Puerto Rico debt securities that lost value, despite the terms of the loans barring their use to purchase securities, according to a Wall Street Journal article published Wednesday. There were claims filed previously against UBS and Mr. Ramirez, and Mr. Ramirez received a Wells Notice from the SEC in March, notifying him that there were civil charges against him that he had violated parts of the Exchange Act and the Securities Act. It was also alleged that a client gave Mr. Ramirez $250,000 to pay down a loan, which Ramirez instead used to purchase more funds. The Justice Department’s criminal inquiry is focused on “the practice of certain customers and a UBS financial adviser of using non-purpose loans to invest in closed-end fund securities in violation of their loan agreements.” Complaints and arbitrations stemming from Puerto Rico bond fund issues have led to claimed damages of more than $1.1 billion, according to UBS’ filing. If you lost money in Puerto Rico bond funds with Jose Ramirez, please call our securities law office to speak to one of our attorneys. We represent retail investors who have lost money in the Puerto Rican bond fund scheme. 312-332-4200.

UBS Former Brokers File FINRA Claim

According to reports, many UBS registered stockbrokers have been laid off, due to the fallout related to UBS’s Puerto Rican closed-end bond funds. Seven brokers who were laid off by UBS filed a $25 million arbitration claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) on Friday. The registered representatives claim that UBS misled its brokers and customers about the UBS Puerto Rican closed-end bond funds. They also claim that UBS allegedly made material misstatements and omissions about the funds. The brokers then claimed they were threatened, lied to and pressured by the firm to sell the Puerto Rican products, or face termination. If you lost money in Puerto Rican closed-end bond funds, you may be able to recover those losses in the FINRA arbitration forum. Please call our Chicago-based securities law firm to find out how you can bring claims against UBS. The call is free with no obligation. We represent dozens of clients who suffered losses with UBS’ Puerto Rican closed-end bond funds.

UBS Securities Fined Again

UBS Securities entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which the firm was fined $100,000 and censured for Trade Reporting and Compliance Engine (TRACE) reporting violations. UBS, as managing underwriter, allegedly failed to report new issue offerings in TRACE-eligible Corporate Debt Securities to FINRA according to the time frames set forth by FINRA. It also allegedly failed to report to TRACE the correct time of execution for 80 transactions during a quarterly review period. We bring claims against UBS for transgressions such as these. If you would like to bring a claim against UBS, please call us at 312-332-4200 to speak to an attorney for free.

UBS Puerto Rico Bond Funds Investor Update

For victims of UBS who sustained losses in the Puerto Rican based bond funds: In the last two weeks, two investors and the first two claims to go to arbitration, won their cases against UBS with arbitrators in one case awarding $200,000 and another, $1 million to a bond investor. This shows that arbitrators are understanding these arguments related to what UBS did wrong. Hundreds of claims have been filed against UBS. Please call us for a free consultation at 312-332-4200.

Investors Win $2 Million Arbitration Award Against UBS

Ahmed Hussein, a former UBS investor, lost more than $20 million after UBS called the Quality System loan against a health-care information systems company on margin. The company began to lose money in 2012, and Mr. Hussein was a Quality System director. UBS then quickly sold its stock. The arbitration panel that decided the case did not give a reason for its decision, but ruled that UBS must pay Mr. Hussein $2 million with no other damages or legal fees. Mr Hussein had been with UBS since 2009. He also claimed that UBS sold some shares of his in July 2012 without his authorization or knowledge of the transactions. He then claimed this caused Quality System’s stock to fall even farther, deepening his losses. He resigned from the board in 2013.

UBS can be held liable for investment losses. If you have suffered losses with them, or other brokerage firms, we may be able to help. We are securities attorneys who concentrate on recovering money for investors. 312-332-4200.

UBS Loses A Second Puerto Rico Fund Case

UBS lost its second case in less than a week for a buried client in the firm’s proprietary funds. A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, found two UBS units liable to an investor, Juan Burgos. Burgos brought a case against the firm for the almost $800,000 in investment losses he suffered in his bond fund portfolio, alleging that UBS mishandled his portfolio, and invested his life savings in risky Puerto Rican closed-end bond funds. The funds have been under scrutiny because of their high concentrations in debt of the island’s government and other related entities. The funds lost nearly half to two thirds of their value over the last two years, because of the concern over Puerto Rico’s high debt and continuously unstable economy. The arbitration panel ruled in favor of Burgos, forcing UBS to buy back his investment portfolio to the tune of $1 million. There are currently hundreds of claims filed against UBS for their sale of the Puerto Rican closed-end bond funds. Another FINRA arbitration panel on May 14th ordered UBS AG to pay an investor $200,000 for her losses in the funds.

Stoltmann Law Offices has filed dozens of claims to date on behalf of investors who lost money in the risky Puerto Rican closed-end bond funds. If you invested in these funds, you can sue UBS in the FINRA arbitration forum to recover some of your losses. Please call us for a free, no obligation consultation with one of our securities attorneys at 312-332-4200. We are based in Chicago.

UBS Loses ANOTHER Puerto Rico Fund Case

UBS lost its second case in less than a week for a buried client in the firm’s proprietary funds. A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration panel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, found two UBS units liable to an investor, Juan Burgos. Burgos brought a case against the firm for the almost $800,000 in investment losses he suffered in his bond fund portfolio, alleging that UBS mishandled his portfolio, and invested his life savings in risky Puerto Rican closed-end bond funds. The funds have been under scrutiny because of their high concentrations in debt of the island’s government and other related entities. The funds lost nearly half to two thirds of their value over the last two years, because of the concern over Puerto Rico’s high debt and continuously unstable economy. The arbitration panel ruled in favor of Burgos, forcing UBS to buy back his investment portfolio to the tune of $1 million. There are currently hundreds of claims filed against UBS for their sale of the Puerto Rican closed-end bond funds. Another FINRA arbitration panel on May 14th ordered UBS AG to pay an investor $200,000 for her losses in the funds.

Stoltmann Law Offices has filed dozens of claims to date on behalf of investors who lost money in the risky Puerto Rican closed-end bond funds. If you invested in these funds, you can sue UBS in the FINRA arbitration forum to recover some of your losses. Please call us for a free, no obligation consultation with one of our securities attorneys at 312-332-4200. We are based in Chicago.