Financial Firms in the Headlines: UBS Charges Financial Planning Fees, MF Global Customers Seek to Cap Ex-Leaders’ Legal Defense Expenses, Ex-Thompson REIT CFO is Suspended

UBS Wealth Management Customers Now Paying a Fee for Financial Plans
UBS (UBS) Wealth Management Americas is now charging a fee for the financial plans that advisers are customizing for the firm’s clients. According to the head of the wealth management advisor group head Jason Chandler, this new policy wasn’t implemented to up firm revenues, although it has. Rather, it was set up to increase the level of commitment clients have to their plan, which he say is what happens when they have to pay money for one.

To date this year, the company has made $3 million in financial plan fees, up from $1.4 million from last year. The average fee amount is $4,100. Advisers who design the financial plans are getting 50% of the fee that they charge, while 15% of the fees earned from the plans end up in expense accounts for them.

MF Global Customers Seek to Cap Legal Defense Bills of Brokerage Firm’s Former Executives
MF Global Inc. customers want to limit how much the former top executives of the failed brokerage firm pay for their legal defense. In a court filing, attorneys for the customers expressed concern at how quickly the legal costs of Chief Executive Jon Corzine and other former executives are growing.

The MF Global clients are suing about two dozen former managers for their alleged misconduct that they believe caused the broker-dealer’s collapse. Of the $200 million in insurance coverage that the firm has to cover legal judgments, $30 million has gone toward the ex-executives defense and they are asking for another $10 million. The brokerage customers want a $40 million cap placed on the defense costs. They are worried that the more the ex-MF Global executives spend toward defense the less money there will be to go toward their own $300 million shortfall they are facing and they won’t be made whole for the financial losses they sustained.

Ex-Thompson REIT CFO Gets Five-Month Securities Industry Suspension
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is suspending Wendy J. Worcester from the securities industry for five months. Worcester was previously chief financial officer of real estate investor Tony Thompson’s nontraded real estate investment trust, as well as co-chief compliance officer of TNP Securities LLC, which is the brokerage firm controlled by Thompson. The SRO says that Worcester did not perform independent and sufficient due diligence into Thompson’s real estate dealings, including three Thompson National Properties LLC-sponsored private placement offerings. This caused her to allegedly compromise TNP Securities’ independence.

According to FINRA, When Thompson National Properties was in financial trouble in 2009, suffering nearly $25.8 million in losses and a negative net equity of $13.6 million while launching REIT The TNP Strategic Retail Trust Inc., two Thompson private placement note programs would go on to pay old investors with either new investor funds or money from some other part of the business. Worcester is settling the REIT securities case without denying or admitting to the allegations.

Finding fees: UBS charging for financial plans, Investment News, June 11, 2013

MF Global Customers Want to Cap Ex-Leaders’ Legal Defense Costs, Dow Jones/Program Business, June 7, 2013

FINRA Sanctioning Former TNP Compliance Officer for Failed Due Diligence as to TNP REIT Offerings

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