oreide Law Group obtained the following information from FINRA’s February 2018 Disciplinary Report:
Univest Securities, LLC (CRD #36105, New York, New York)
was censured and fined $20,000 by FINRA. A lower fine was imposed after considering, among other things, the Univest Securities revenue and financial resources. FINRA alleges Univest Securities failed to develop and implement an anti-money laundering (AML) program reasonably designed to achieve and monitor compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing regulations.
FINRA’s findings stated that Univest Securities failed to identify, investigate, and respond to red flags of potentially suspicious activities involving the deposit and liquidation of millions of shares of low-priced securities. The firm accepted several new clients, many of whom were located in a foreign jurisdiction that are considered to present heightened AML risks, whose account activity included depositing and liquidating low-priced securities. These clients collectively sold more than 14 million shares of low-priced stocks, generating proceeds of over $37 million, and their trading presented numerous red flags of potentially suspicious activity.
Univest Securities’ system for detecting and investigating the red flags related to the low-priced stock activities of its clients was unreasonable according to FINRA. The firm allegedly failed to detect any of its clients’ activities as potentially suspicious notwithstanding the existence of red flags such as the liquidation of millions of shares of low-priced stocks followed by the wiring out of the proceeds.
FINRA states that in addition, Univest Securities did not sufficiently tailor its AML program to a low-priced stock liquidation business and the associated regulatory risks. In particular, the firm’s system for reviewing for potentially suspicious trading consisted primarily of its manual review of daily trade blotters. Given the volume and nature of the low-priced stock transactions being conducted, this review was not reasonably designed to detect patterns of potentially suspicious activity that might occur over the course of days, weeks, or months and over several accounts.
(FINRA Case #2014039343301)
If you are/were a client of Univest Securities of New York and you experienced losses due to their actions or recommendations, contact Soreide Law Group for a no-cost consultation and experienced securities lawyer regarding the possible recovery of your investment losses through a FINRA arbitration at: 888-760-6552.
Soreide Law Group represents clients nationwide. We operate on a contingency fee basis—no fee if no recovery.