FINRA Bars UBS Stockbroker In Selling Away Investigation
Nicolas Jesus Barrios of Winter Haven Florida a stockbroker and Production Branch Manager formerly employed by UBS Financial Services Inc. has been barred from associating with any Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) member in any capacity based upon consenting to findings that Barrios failed to cooperate with FINRA during an investigation into accusations of (1) Barrios selling away from the firm during the time that he was associated with UBS Financial (2) Barrios effecting an investment transaction without generating approval from the firm and (3) Barrios engaging in communications with customers in violation of UBS’ policy. Letter of Acceptance Waiver and Consent No. 2019061655701 (June 11, 2019).
According To the AWC, an investigation had been commenced by FINRA into allegations of Barrios’ misconduct during the time that he was terminated from UBS Financial Services. In particular, Barrios was discharged by UBS Financial Services on May 15, 2019, at which point the firm notified FINRA about private securities transactions executed by Barrios away from the firm; and Barrios’ private communications with a customer for purposes of Barrios avoiding UBS from discovering his interactions with the customer. The AWC stated that UBS informed FINRA that seven of the customers transferred their assets to outside bank accounts from their UBS accounts. Apparently, customers then made checks payable to an entity that Barrios was affiliated with.
Evidently, on April 25, 2019, a letter had been sent to Barrios from FINRA personnel wherein the regulator called upon Barrios to provide information and documents for FINRA’s review to assess whether (1) a fraud was committed by Barrios in regard to a customer’s account, and (2) whether the customer’s investment had been mismanaged. Barrios was expected under Rule 8210 to furnish a response to FINRA no later than May 10, 2019; however, he did not respond by the deadline imposed.
The AWC stated that Barrios’ counsel sought an extension of time for Barrios to respond to FINRA. Days later, Barrios was sent a second letter from FINRA which instructed Barrios to hand over the information and documentation. FINRA stated that Barrios was given until May 24, 2019 to respond; however, Barrios again failed to cooperate. Subsequently, FINRA was contacted by counsel for Barrios, who informed FINRA that Barrios would at no point be providing the information to FINRA. As a result, FINRA concluded that Barrios’ refusal to cooperate in the investigation was violative of FINRA Rules 2010 and 8210.
FINRA Public Disclosure reveals that Barrios is referenced in four more customer initiated investment related disputes pertaining to accusations of his misconduct during the time that he was associated with securities broker dealers including Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner Smith and UBS Financial Services Inc. In particular, a customer filed an investment related complaint concerning Barrios’ conduct in which the customer sought $22,000.00 in damages supported by allegations that the customer was placed in mutual funds which were not suitable for the customer given the customer’s aversion to risk.
Additionally, a customer filed an investment related complaint regarding Barrios’ activities where the customer requested unspecified damages founded on accusations that while Barrios was associated with Merrill Lynch, stocks were traded by Barrios in the customer’s account without the customer’s authorization causing the customer to incur losses. On April 23, 2019, another customer filed an investment related complaint involving Barrios’ conduct in which the customer sought $5,000.00 in damages based upon allegations that between January 3, 2012 and January 15, 2019, while Barrios was associated with UBS Financial Services: the customer’s assets were invested in speculative investments which were not suitable given the customer’s age and tolerance for risk; Barrios effected trades without the customer’s consent; and he improperly executed the transfer of the customer’s funds to an outside institution.
Barrios was registered with UBS Financial Services between November 14, 2018 and May 15, 2019.