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UBS, ex-broker to pay $800,000 to former client, says FINRA

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UBS Financial Services and its ex-broker have been ordered to pay more than $805,000 to a former client who claimed the firm broke its fiduciary duty and unjustly enriched itself, among other complaints, according to FINRA.

Scott Feldman, and his trust, the Scott H. & Janet J. Feldman Rev. Trust, claimed negligence, fraud and misrepresentation against the firm and its former broker, Michael James Keane, of Melville, New York, according to the FINRA award documents.

The claim originally sought $1.18 million in damages and $3.5 million in punitive damages, according to the award. While the panel awarded compensatory damages of $805,120, it denied the punitive damages, according to the regulator.

“While UBS recognizes that the arbitrators awarded far less in damages than claimants were seeking, we respectfully disagree that any award was appropriate under the facts of this case,” says a UBS spokeswoman in a statement. UBS and Keane had requested the claims be dismissed in their entirety and all references to the matter be expunged, according to the documents.

A 47–year financial services veteran, Keane left UBS in 2016. He had worked with Citigroup, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch, among others, over his career, per FINRA BrokerCheck record.

The former broker has nine disclosures on record, all of which were filed after he joined UBS in 2007, per BrokerCheck. Eight disclosures have now been either settled, denied or awarded, except one that is still pending. In the pending dispute filed in 2017, the customer claims the advisor “disregarded instructions by investing in unsuitable high-risk energy stocks and MLPs” and is seeking $300,000 in damages, per BrokerCheck.

In 2009, another customer dispute alleged Keane recommended an “unsuitable annuities investment” and failed to implement a stop-loss strategy. The dispute was settled for $235,000, per BrokerCheck. In total, disputes involving Keane settled for more than $1.1 million, according to BrokerCheck.

Feldman and his attorney, Michael Burg, did not respond to requests for comment.

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