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Two Ex-UBS Brokers Face Serious Watchdog Sanctions

By Alex Padalka August 10, 2018

Self-regulator Finra has barred a former UBS representative who had resigned from the firm voluntarily while under internal review of allegedly unapproved real estate dealings with clients, according to a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent published by the industry’s self-regulator. Meantime, the SEC has charged another ex-UBS broker with defrauding clients for $4 million.

Alex Herrera was registered with the firm from March 2012 until May 2018, according to Finra.

UBS filed a termination notice stating that Herrera voluntarily left the firm in April 2018 “while under review after advising management he had engaged in financial and real estate relationships with longstanding clients without prior approval,” according to the letter of consent.

Herrera has a customer dispute from May 2018, in which a client’s lawyer alleged Herrera had stolen her client’s money to purchase a vacation property, according to Herrera’s BrokerCheck profile.

That month, Herrera’s lawyer told Finra that the former broker declined to respond to the regulator’s request for information about allegedly unreported business activities and private securities transactions, Finra says.

Herrera’s counsel then told Finra in June and July that the former broker declined to respond to its subsequent requests, according to the letter of consent.

Herrera consented to Finra’s bar without admitting or denying its findings, the regulator says.

Herrera had been in the industry since 1999 and is not currently registered with another firm, according to BrokerCheck.

In 2014, he had entered into a Stipulation and Consent Agreement with the Florida Department of Financial Services consenting to a civil and administrative penalty of $250 for allegedly failing to comply with the state’s continuing education requirements, according to Finra.

Another former UBS broker, meanwhile, is facing SEC charges of allegedly defrauding at least 15 clients out of nearly $4 million. From 2008 to March 2018, John Maccoll allegedly lied and used high-pressure sales tactics to persuade clients to invest in a private fund he said would generate up to 20% in annual returns, according to the SEC complaint, which only identifies the firm where Maccoll was registered during that time as “a large, nationwide broker-dealer and investment adviser dually registered with the Commission (‘Broker-Dealer A’).”

According to BrokerCheck, a John Cochran Maccoll was registered with UBS from 2006 until March 2018, when he was “discharged after failing to cooperate into the Firm's investigation that he misappropriated money from a client.” He later told the firm that he misappropriated money from 13 clients, according to UBS’s statement on his BrokerCheck profile.

Finra barred Maccoll later that month for failing to respond to its request for information, according to this BrokerCheck record.

Finra

In the SEC’s complaint this week, the regulator alleges Maccoll told clients the growth potential of the private fund investment was higher than what they held at “Broker-Dealer A” and allegedly convinced them to sell or borrow against their securities there to fund the investment in the private fund he was apparently peddling.

But Maccoll allegedly didn’t invest the $4 million he solicited, instead allegedly spending close to $3.6 million on personal expenses and paying out more than $400,000 to some of the clients in a Ponzi-like scheme, according to the SEC’s complaint.

Maccoll had been in the industry since 1977 and has 14 customer disputes dating back to 1990, according to BrokerCheck.