UBS Financial Services Incorporated of Puerto Rico is the subject of hundreds of FINRA arbitration claims filed by investors who have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in UBS’s proprietary Puerto Rico close-end bond funds. Many Puerto Rico residents bought the UBS Puerto Rico bond funds seeking income and preservation of principal. But the funds were risky and leveraged and ultimately suffered massive losses. Many investors have lost their life savings. The Office of the Commissioner of Financial Institutions of Puerto Rico sampled some of UBS’s sales to Puerto Rico residents and issued a multi-million-dollar fine against UBS Puerto Rico. Facing mounting legal bills and massive financial exposure relating to the FINRA arbitration claims, things appear to be getting worse for UBS Puerto Rico, as it has been reported that two of the firm’s top executives do not have the necessary supervisory licenses.

Reportedly, neither the current head of UBS Wealth Management, Carlos Ortiz León, nor a UBS Puerto Rico branch manager, Robert Fortuño Burset, possess a required supervisory license. Known as the General Securities Sales Supervisor license (formerly the series 8 license and now the series 9 and 10 ), covers FINRA, New York Stock Exchange, Municipal Securities Rule Board, and Securities and Exchange Commission rules, and is required to supervise sales activities in corporate, municipal, and options securities, investment company products, variable contracts, and direct participation programs. We have reviewed both individual’s FINRA Broker Check reports and neither report reflects that the individuals possess the FINRA supervisory license.

This most recent issue is another black eye for one of Puerto Rico’s largest financial institutions. We expect that FINRA arbitrators will be very interested in learning how and why UBS Puerto Rico permitted these individuals to conduct supervisory activities without the necessary regulatory licenses.

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