In January 2014, FINRA announced that UBS Financial Services Inc. submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which the firm was censured and fined $260,000. The firm has paid a total of $131,534.81 in restitution to address the violations of MSRB Rules G-17 and G-30(a), NASD Rules 2110 and 2320, and FINRA Rule 2010.
Without admitting or denying the findings, the firm consented to the described sanctions and to the entry of findings that it purchased municipal securities for its own account from customers and/or sold municipal securities for its own account to customers at an aggregate price (including any markdown or markup) that was not fair and reasonable, taking into consideration all relevant factors, including the best judgment of the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer as to the fair market value of the securities at the time of the transactions and of any securities exchanged or traded in connection with the transactions; the expense involved in effecting the transactions; the fact that the broker, dealer or municipal securities dealer is entitled to a profit; and the total dollar amount of the transactions.
The findings also stated that in transactions for or with customers, the firm failed to use reasonable diligence to ascertain the best inter-dealer market, and failed to buy or sell in such market so that the resultant price to its customers was as favorable as possible under prevailing market conditions.
It was unclear from FINRA’s announcement whether customers had initiated FINRA arbitrations or any other type of securities arbitrations. Any customer who believes they have been a victim of excessive municipal markups or markdowns can contact David A. Weintraub, P.A., 7805 SW 6th Court, Plantation, FL 33324. By phone: 954.693.7577 or 800.718.1422.