Fired UBS Financial Advisor, Nicolas Barrios, Barred By FINRA After Investigation Into Whether He Committed Fraud
Nicolas Barrios is a former Financial Advisor at UBS Financial Services in Winter Haven, Florida. Nicolas Barrios entered the securities industry in 1991 and previously worked at Wachovia Securities.
According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), on April 25, 2019, UBS terminated Nicolas Barrios “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.”
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) strictly prohibits financial advisors from “selling away” or selling securities and investments to clients that are not offered by the brokerage firm with which they are employed. For example, it is illegal and a violation of industry rules for a financial advisor to recommend or even suggest that a client invest in the financial advisor’s own business or a business operated by his or her friends or family. It is not necessary that the financial advisor earn any compensation for recommending an outside investment.
The purpose behind this prohibition is to ensure that a financial advisor only offers to sell securities that have been vetted by his or her employer brokerage firm through a rigorous due diligence process. Most brokerage firms have an approved list of investments, products, and research that can be provided or made available to clients. Any deviation by the financial advisor from the approved product list may constitute selling away.
After being terminated, FINRA commenced an investigation, which concluded on June 11, 2019. Nicolas Barrios was sanctioned by FINRA, barring him from associating with any FINRA member brokerage firm. The FINRA sanction states “ 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.”
For a copy of the FINRA sanction, click https://www.finra.org/sites/default/files/fda_documents/2019061655701%20Nicolas%20J.%20Barrios%20CRD%202122824%20AWC%20jm.pdf
In addition, Nicolas Barrios has four customer complaints, including one pending complaint, alleging sales practice violations. The pending complaint alleges “Time Frame: January 3, 2012 to January 15, 2019 What were the allegations against the individual? 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.”
For a copy of Nicolas Barrios’ CRD, click https://brokercheck.finra.org/individual/summary/2122824#disclosuresSection
Financial advisors have a legal and regulatory obligation to recommend only suitable investments that are appropriate for their clients’ needs and objectives. Their employing brokerage firm has a legal and regulatory obligation to supervise the Financial Advisors’ sales practices and dealings with clients. To the extent any of these duties are breached, the customer may be entitled to a recovery of his or her investment losses.
The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration on a contingency fee basis. Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, is a trial lawyer who has handled hundreds of securities cases during his career involving a wide range of products, strategies and securities. Prior to representing investors, he was a partner with a national law firm, where he represented some of the largest banks and brokerage firms in the world in securities matters. We can be reached at 800.931.8452 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.