UBS Ordered to Pay Investors $371K in ‘YES’ Claim
An arbitration panel has ordered UBS Wealth Management USA to pay nearly $371,000 to a pair of investors in Ohio who brought a claim over a long-running options strategy that went awry in volatile markets.
In the most recent award, the claimants, Matthew V. Fisher and Lisa G. Fisher, requested a total of $1.67 million in damages and accused the firm of mis-marketing the product as low risk in breach of fiduciary duty and Ohio state securities laws. They filed their case in Columbus, Ohio, in September 2019.
The three-person all-public panel awarded $342,127 in damages and also ordered UBS to cover around $28,600 in costs for expert witnesses and filing fees.
The arbitrators denied UBS’s bid to expunge the complaints from the record of three Chicago-based brokers, Richard Mark Held, Ortal Shachar and Frederick Maximilian Kort, who were not named as parties in the claim.
The panelists did not provide an explanation for their decision, as is customary unless the parties specifically request an explained award.
A UBS spokesman declined to comment.
Plaintiffs’ attorneys have been actively soliciting investors who lost money in the YES strategy that suffered losses amid volatile equity markets in late 2018 and 2019 and then again amid the pandemic volatility in 2020.
Held, a 48-year industry veteran who leads the Chicago-based Held Group, has one other complaint tied to the options strategy on his record. An April 2020 complaint that is pending seeks $890,000 over “recommendations to invest in and hold an options overlay strategy,” according to BrokerCheck.
Shachar, a junior broker on the team, reflects the same two complaints, including the recent award, but shows no other record of customer issues over his 13-year brokerage career.
Kort was discharged from UBS in 2018 and is an investment adviser with a Chicago firm, IHT Wealth Management, according to BrokerCheck and Securities and Exchange Commission licensing records.
His BrokerCheck shows two pending complaints tied to options strategy sales that were filed in 2019 and 2020 and seek around $920,000 in damages. Two other claims involving an in-house managed account program and real estate investment trust sales were denied.
In other YES cases, awards have been denied to a Wall Street investment banking executive, among other clients whom UBS said were sophisticated and well-informed on options.
In December, a Florida arbitration panel ordered UBS to pay $90,000 to a client who alleged losses of more than $400,000 on the strategy.
The YES strategy was developed by Matthew Buchsbaum, a broker who moved with his team to UBS in 2015 from Credit Suisse, where it was first launched.