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UBS Misleads New Hampshire Investors about Lehman Securities

Securities regulators in New Hampshire have accused a unit of UBS AG, Switzerland’s largest bank, of recommending unsuitable investments to customers who put their money into complex securities underwritten by Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc.

According to the New Hampshire Bureau of Securities Regulation, UBS allegedly represented the securities as “safe” investments to clients, guaranteeing them “principal protection.”

As it turns out, following the September 2008 bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers – which is the largest in U.S. history at more than $600 billion in debt – many of these same investors will likely lose the majority of their supposed principal-protected investment. Additionally, New Hampshire regulators also contend UBS failed to warn investors about the potential risks of the structured finance products once Lehman itself began to experience financial troubles. As reported June 4 by the Wall Street Journal, New Hampshire regulators filed the civil complaint against UBS on Wednesday, June 3.

In a statement, Jeff Spill, New Hampshire’s deputy director of securities regulation for enforcement, said UBS presented “the structured notes as simple, safe investments when in fact they are highly volatile and are subject to shifting market conditions.