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Steven Cooper: FINRA Suspends California UBS Advisor Over Mutual Fund Trades

A disciplinary action taken by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority against former Century City, California broker and investment advisor Steven Cooper (CRD# 4879645) suspended him over allegations that he recommended unsuitable mutual fund trades. A former representative of UBS Financial Services, Cooper was fined $5,000 and suspended from acting as a broker for two months as a result of these findings.

According to a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent (No. 2017055083601) signed in May 2019, Steven Cooper recommended and executed “a series of unsuitable mutual fund trades in seven customers’ accounts” during a period beginning in April 2017 and ending in May 2017, violating FINRA Rules 2111 and 2010. FINRA’s findings state specifically that he recommended these seven clients “sell certain mutual funds, and then use the proceeds to make 59 purchases of Class A mutual funds,” which were accompanied by upfront sales fees. Cooper allegedly failed in each of these recommendations “to exercise reasonable due diligence concerning the transactions” and determine whether the clients were eligible to purchase these investments without the upfront fees.

FINRA states that in 18 separate instances Cooper advised his clients to sell Class F mutual fund shares, then to use the proceeds of these sales to purchase Class A shares of the same mutual funds. These Class F shares enabled the clients “to convert their shares to Class A shares without paying upfront sales charges,” according to FINRA, and yet Cooper still recommended the sales of these shares to fund the purchase of shares with fees “ranging from approximately 2% to 3.50%.” FINRA states that Cooper failed to exercise reasonable due diligence “and therefore did not understand” that his customers were able to convert the Class F shares to Class A shares without those upfront charges, resulting in his customers incurring total sales charges of about $33,000—until UBS Financial Services cancelled and then re-billed the transactions without upfront fees. As a result of this alleged conduct, Cooper was suspended from associating with any FINRA member for two months, and was ordered to pay a fine of $5,000.

Steven Cooper is not currently registered as a broker. His employment history includes UBS Financial Services in Century City, California and Edward Jones. He currently holds no state licenses and has passed three securities industry qualification examinations.

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