UBS Terminates Longtime Virginia Broker for Trading Abuses
UBS Financial Services has discharged a high-producing broker in Norfolk, Va., who worked at the firm and its predecessors for almost four decades without running up a record, citing trading abuses.
R. Thomas Edwards, Jr., who until a week ago had no disclosure events in the BrokerCheck database, was let go “after an internal review found policy violations in connection with his trading practices in certain client accounts,” according to a U-5 termination notice UBS filed with regulators this month. The trading allegations involved at least one elderly client, according to a source familiar with the event.
Edwards, who began his career in 1979 at Kidder, Peabody & Co. and remained as it was absorbed into PaineWebber and UBS, specialized in muni bond and other fixed-income investments at UBS’s Norfolk office, according to an internal UBS source and two other people. He generated about $2 million of annual revenue in recent years, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Edwards, who UBS discharged on December 20, joined Richmond-based Davenport & Co. on January 5, according to the BrokerCheck database. Reached at his office, he declined to comment.
Brokerage firms have become increasingly sensitized to sales abuses involving elderly customers in the wake of regulatory scrutiny. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has emphasized sales practices to senior investors as an exam and enforcement priority for several years. Earlier this week, Finra imposed a suspension and fine on a former LPL Financial broker who accepted findings that he executed short-term mutual fund A-share trades for an elderly client with conservative investment objectives.
In its latest examination priorities letter, Finra also said it has created a special unit to focus on recidivist brokers and the firms that hire them. Spokespersons at Davenport and UBS did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
-Jed Horowitz contributed reporting.