Finra has suspended and fined a former UBS financial advisor who was allegedly duped by a hacker into disbursing half a million dollars from a UBS client’s account, the industry’s self-regulator says.

William Darby joined the financial services industry in 1999 and eventually joined UBS in 2008, according to a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent published by Finra.

In October 2018, a hacker allegedly used a UBS client’s account to send an email to Darby requesting that he make three wire transfers totaling $511,870 to third-party bank accounts, the regulator says.

Darby allegedly directed the transfers without speaking with the client, violating the company’s policy requiring verbal confirmations from the clients for such requests, according to the letter of acceptance.

Darby then allegedly told his sales assistant on two occasions that he had verbally confirmed the transfer requests with the client, Finra says.

Furthermore, in order to fund the transfers, Darby allegedly sold securities in the client’s account, for a total amount of $525,896, without authorization, according to the letter of acceptance.

UBS terminated Darby in November 2018 over allegations that he had “violated firm disbursements policy by failing to call client to confirm disbursement requests yet instructed support staff to process the disbursements,” according to BrokerCheck.

A client dispute from Oct. 4, 2018 alleging that Darby made unauthorized trades and wire disbursement has been settled for $205,724.91, according to Darby’s BrokerCheck profile. According to Finra, UBS reimbursed the customer.


Darby agreed to a 45-day suspension and to pay a $7,500 fine without admitting or denying Finra’s findings, according to the regulator.

Following his discharge from UBS, Darby joined Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., where he remains registered, according to his BrokerCheck profile.