Former UBS Financial Services financial advisor William Hightower (CRD# 2152369) is accused of unsuitable investment recommendations. Hightower was registered UBS Financial Services Inc. in Houston, Texas from 2007 to 2013 and most recently with Legacy Asset Securities, Inc. in Houston, Texas from 2013 to 2015. Hightower is no longer registered with any brokerage firm and has been barred from acting as a broker by FINRA.
In October 2015, “Hightower consented to the sanction and to the entry of findings that he failed to respond fully to a request for documents and information made by FINRA in connection with an investigation into allegations that Hightower, while associated with a FINRA member firm, improperly referred customers to an unapproved private securities transaction. Specifically, Hightower failed to provide, among other things, a list of any customers he referred to the private securities transaction,” according to the Acceptance, Waiver & Consent document. Based on these findings, FINRA barred Hightower from acting as a broker or otherwise associating with firms that sell securities to the public.
Hightower has been the subject of two customer complaints between 2015 and 2016, according to his CRD report.
- December 2018. “Time frame: 2011 to 2017 Claimant is a CPA who alleges misrepresentations, omissions, and other intentional, negligent and/or grossly negligent behavior as well as recommendations made to purchase investments without a reasonable basis and grounds to believe such recommendations were suitable for Claimant. Claimant further alleges the sole purpose for recommending the private investments were a designed scheme to convert his client’s funds for his own use and to fraudulently conceal client’s losses and his own misconduct.” The case is currently pending.
- September 2018. “Time frame: Not Stated Fraud, negligent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligence relating to investments in private securities and alleged Ponzi scheme.” The customer is seeking $500,000 and the case is currently pending.
- September 2018. “Time frame: NOT SPECIFIED Claimants allege the FA liquidated their accounts without authorization and used the money to purchase shares in his company.” The customer is seeking $1 million in damages and the case is currently pending.
- September 2018. “Time frame: 2008-2018 Allegations: Plaintiffs allege that Hightower sold her inappropriate investments, including a principal protected note, an alternative private investment, and a private annuity, some of which were part of a ponzi scheme by which he stole plaintiff’s money.” The customer is seeking $500,000 and the case is currently pending.
- August 2018. “Time frame: 1/2013 to 9/2016 Plaintiffs alleges that at UBS and a subsequent employer Hightower recommended inappropriate investments including a “private annuity” and stock in a company Hightower controlled and that he forged documents and transferred money to an account he controlled.” The customer is seeking $2,650,000 in damages and the case is currently pending.
- March 2016. “Claimant alleges that FA recommended the purchase of a high risk, illiquid and unsuitable unregistered security. Claimant further alleges omissions and misrepresentations regarding this recommended investment.” The customer sought $150,000 in damages and the case was settled for $125,000.
- May 2015. “Time frame: 2009-2013 The claimants council (sp) alleges unsuitability of investments, misrepresentations and unauthorized trading in accounts.” The claims brought against UBS and Hightower included: negligent management and supervision of accounts, violation of FINRA Rule 2090, violation of FINRA Rule 2111, violation of FINRA Rule 2020, violation of FINRA Rule 2262, violation of Texas Securities Act Section 4.F, breach of contract, violation of Texas Human Recourses Code Section 102.003(b)(2), violation of Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act Sections 17.46(b)(3) and 17.46(b)(24), breach of fiduciary duty, and violation of FINRA Rule 2010. Claimants alleged that Respondents recommended various highly speculative and unsuitable investments, including Reproductive Research Technologies and IsoSpec Technologies. The former client alleged that these investments were unsuitable given their age and financial position. The claimant sought $1 million in damages and the case was settled for $40,000.
Pursuant to FINRA Rules, member firms are responsible for supervising a broker’s activities during the time the broker is registered with the firm. Therefore, UBS Financial Services and Legacy Asset Securities, Inc. may be liable for investment or other losses suffered by William Andrew Hightower’s customers.
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