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FINRA Bars UBS Broker Nicolas Barrios from the Securities Industry for Selling Away

GettyImages-513067681-300x200On June 11, 2019, Nicolas Barrios (CRD#: 2122824) entered into an Acceptance, Waiver & Consent (AWC)  with FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, in which he consented to FINRA’s decision to permanently bar him from the securities industry. According to his BrokerCheck accessed on August 2, 2019, “Without admitting or denying the findings, Barrios consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he failed to provide FINRA with requested documents and information in connection with FINRA’s investigation into allegations that Barrios mismanaged and committed fraud with respect to a customer’s account.”

On April 23, 2019, Nicolas Barrios became involved in a customer dispute. “The client’s beneficiaries allege the Financial Advisor invested in risky stocks for her age. She further alleges the FA stated he took her money and traded it outside of UBS. She finally alleges the client did not authorize stock trades and thought her money was safe,” according to his BrokerCheck report. The dispute is pending as of August 2, 2019.

Two days later, on April 25, 2019, UBS Financial Services Inc. terminated Nicolas Barrios. According to the BrokerCheck report, “Producing Branch Manager (‘PBOM’) was discharged after stating during Firm review: (1) he arranged for client to invest away from firm in private company; (2) he personally invested in that company without firm approval; and (3) he used personal email to communicate with client’s family in an attempt to evade Firm detection. Firm subsequently learned that at least seven of PBOM’s clients moved money from UBS accounts to outside bank accounts from which they wrote checks to an entity with which PBOM is affiliated.”

According to Investopedia, “Selling away is when a broker solicits a client to purchase securities not held or offered by the brokerage firm.” If a broker pushes a product that has not been approved by their firm, the firm has not done due diligence screenings on that product. Thus, it’s possible that these securities products are not considered solid recommendations. When a broker engages in selling away, not only is it a violation of securities regulations, but it also means that their broker may be recommending securities products to their clients that are not suitable. This puts investors at risk.

Barrios has other disclosures on his BrokerCheck.

Nicolas Barrios’ firm at the time, Merrill Lynch, denied a claim in which a “customer alleged that Mr. Barrios  traded stocks without his authorization and proper disclosure. No specific damages were claimed.” The customer filed the claim on December 31, 1997.

Merrill Lynch denied a claim that Nicolas Barrios failed to follow instructions to sell common stocks. Customer claimed damages of $8,000 to $10,000.” The claimant filed the dispute on December 21, 1998.

Nicolas Barrios’ firm denied a client’s claim “that he should have been placed in [a] safer investment.” The client, who filed the claim on July 8, 2003, was seeking $22,700. The broker comment reads, “Client was presented with various investment plans, including more conservative plans, but client selected more aggressive plan. Client was well informed about risks involved and carefully considered his options before investing. No wrongdoing found.”

Nicolas Barrios worked at the following firms:

  • UBS Financial Services Inc. (CRD#: 8174)
  • Wachovia Securities, LLC. (CRD#: 19616)
  • First Union Brokerage Services, Inc. (CRD#: 8112)
  • Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated (CRD#: 7691)
  • Chatfield Dean & Co. Inc. (CRD#: 14714)

If Nicolas Barrios was your broker or if you have questions about selling away, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced securities attorneys of Fitapelli Kurta. Call (877) 238-4175 or email info@fkesq.com for your free consultation.

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