FINRA Sanctions UBS Nearly $11 Million for Down Playing Risks Associated with Lehman Principal Protected Notes Sold to its Customers
The Financial Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that it has fined UBS Financial Services, Inc. $2.5 million, and ordered UBS to pay $8.25 million in restitution for omissions and statements regarding the “principal protection” feature of the 100% Principal-Protected Notes (PPNs) issued by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. prior to its September 2008 bankruptcy filing. FINRA is a self-regulatory organization that regulates all broker-dealers doing business in the United States, including UBS.
According to the papers filed by FINRA, during the period between March 17, 2008 to June 2008, in connection with the Lehman PPNs that UBS marketed and sold, UBS made statements and omitted certain facts through communications through some of its financial advisors, which had the effect of misleading certain customers regarding characteristics and risks associated with investing in Lehman PPNs, including material information regarding the product’s “100% Principal Protection” features.
FINRA further alleged that UBS failed to disseminate adequately to its financial advisors certain market information relating to Lehman’s financial conditions and UBS failed to establish an adequate supervisory system for its financial advisors training, marketing and sale of PPNs. FINRA also alleged that UBS did not adequately analyze the suitability of sales of Leman PPNs to certain UBS customers. As a result of the foregoing, FINRA alleged that UBS violated numerous FINRA rules and sanctioned it accordingly.