UBS and Ameriprise Broker Suspended for Unauthorized Trading and Unsuitable Recommendations

John Burns, a stockbroker formerly registered with UBS Financial Services, Inc. (UBS) and Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc. (Ameriprise), submitted a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) in which he was assessed a deferred fine of $17,500 and suspended for 14 months.  Without admitting or denying FINRA’s findings, John E. Burns, of St. Charles, Missouri, consented to the entry of findings that he engaged in a pattern of unauthorized trading in customer accounts and made unsuitable, risky investments in the account of an elderly couple.

Between December 2013 and August 2015, while registered with UBS and Ameriprise, John Burns allegedly executed 100 unauthorized trades in nine customer accounts.  Mr. Burns did not have written discretionary authority to place the trades in any of these customer accounts.  FINRA found further that Mr. Burns made over 50 unsuitable and unauthorized investments in the account of a senior retired couple.  According to FINRA, these transactions involved repeated high-risk investments in stocks which were unsuitable for the customers given their moderate risk tolerance and investment profile.  As a result of Mr. Burns’ unsuitable investment strategy, the elderly couple sustained losses exceeding $50,000.  Consequently, John Burns was suspended by FINRA for 14 months and assessed a deferred fine of $17,500.  The suspension is in effect from December 5, 2016 through February 4, 2018.

Stockbrokers have been known to engage in many types of practices that may be in violation of industry and firm rules, practices, and procedures.  In order to protect investors from stockbroker misconduct, FINRA rules require brokerage firms to establish and implement a reasonable supervisory system.  The implementation of the rules require supervisors to monitor employees to ensure they comply with federal and state securities laws, securities industry rules and regulations, and the brokerage firm’s own policies and procedures.  If broker-dealers and their supervisors fail to establish and implement these protective measures, they may be liable to investors for damages flowing from the misconduct. Therefore, investors who have suffered losses stemming from unsuitable trade recommendations or unauthorized trading can bring forth claims to recover damages against broker-dealers, like UBS Financial and Ameriprise, which should consistently oversee their brokers’ activities in order to prevent the above-described prohibited conduct.

Have you suffered losses in your UBS or Ameriprise account due to your stockbroker’s unsuitable trading recommendation or unauthorized trades?  If so, call Robert Pearce at the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A. for a free consultation.  Mr. Pearce is accepting clients with valid claims against UBS and/or Ameriprise stockbrokers who may have engaged in unsuitable trading strategies and caused investors’ losses.

The most important of investors’ rights is the right to be informed!  This Investors’ Rights blog post is by the Law Offices of Robert Wayne Pearce, P.A., located in Boca Raton, Florida.  For over 35 years, Attorney Pearce has tried, arbitrated, and mediated hundreds of disputes involving complex securities, commodities and investment law issues.  The lawyers at our law firm are devoted to protecting investors’ rights throughout the United States and internationally!  Please visit our website,, post a comment, call (800) 732-2889, or email Mr. Pearce at for answers to any of your questions about this blog post and/or any related matter.