Capital ESOP Group: The Truth About Fraud at UBS Financial Services has been Uncovered (2023)

The Capital ESOP Group UBS is a dangerous private wealth management firm that you should avoid at all costs. Their leadership has a shady past and its current disclosures indicate that its leaders make money at the expense of their clients. 

Before you trust them with your business and your family’s financial future, it would be best to go through the shady provisions present in their disclosures. This way, you can make sure that you made the smart decision. The following review of the Capital ESOP Group UBS will help you with this. 

About the Capital ESOP Group UBS

The Capital ESOP Group UBS is a financial advisory firm located in Washington DC. Their address is 1501 K St NW Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20005, US and their contact number is 202-585-5358. 

The three managing directors at this firm are Keith Apton, Nick Francia and Robert Allred. Keith Apton and Nick have the CEPA certification while Robert Allred has CFP and CPWA certifications. 

This firm focuses on helping entrepreneurs and business owners exit their business effectively. They primarily offer planning consultations and help clients with monetizing their privately held businesses and making the ESOP decision. 

Apart from that, the firm offers personalized portfolio management, philanthropy, trust and estate planning, and a few more services. 

At first, this firm seems like a genuine and caring team of experts. However, it uses multiple unethical tactics to leech funds off of its clients. As an investor, you have every right to know about these tactics so you can make a better-informed decision. I have highlighted them in the next section of this review.

Issues Present in the Capital ESOP Group UBS

Below are some of the many problems present in the Capital ESOP Group UBS: 

$100,000 Dispute of Keith Apton

Before you consider working with any wealth advisor, you should look them up on FINRA BrokerCheck. This database gives you crucial information about an advisor that can help you significantly while making such an important decision. You can find out about the advisor’s state licenses, the exams they have passed, their past employers, and the disputes they have faced. 

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Keith Apton’s FINRA BrokerCheck listing shows one customer dispute. It happened in 2010 where the client alleged that he was not told that he was purchasing Auction-Rate Securities. The client thought he was purchasing municipal bonds. They requested $100,000 in damages and settled the case for the same. 

Keith responded by saying that the firm settled the case according to the FINRA Regulatory Notice 09-12 and to avoid litigation. 

In any case, facing a $100,000 dispute is no small matter. It shows that Keith Apton has a history of ignoring his client’s financial requirements for the sake of his personal profits. This can be a huge drawback of working with him and as you’ll read about his shady provisions, you’ll realize that it’s quite easy for him to ignore your interests. 

The client alleged that he was not informed that his purchase of Municipal Bonds for $100,000 actually involved Auction Rate Securities.

Charging Performance-based Fees

One of the biggest drawbacks of working with the Capital ESOP Group UBS is that it offers products that charge performance-based fees. 

When an advisor charges performance-based fees, they make money when they outperform a specific index or benchmark. This compels them to implement high-risk strategies, which are quite dangerous for large portfolios. 

Studies show that advisors who follow this fee structure tend to double down on the risk and so, generate poor returns for their clients. 

It’s a highly notorious practice in the finance industry and you should avoid this fee structure at all costs. 

While following this fee structure, your advisor has incentive for employing high-risk strategies regardless of their suitability for your portfolio. Such strategies aren’t beneficial in most cases because they generally yield poor or negative results (losses). 

Furthermore, if you suffer losses because of the Capital ESOP Group UBS, you can’t hold them responsible for it. The waivers you sign when you become their client, ensure that they are free from any accountability in such scenarios. 

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It’s a terrible provision and it shows just how greedy Keith and his team are. 

Charging 12b-1 Fees

Apart from following a performance-based fee structure, Keith Apton and his firm also offer products that charge 12b-1 fees. This is a marketing fee which goes straight into the advisor’s pocket. 

Although the 12b-1 fee increases the cost of the investments, it doesn’t reflect any true value. The SEC had conducted a detailed study on investments that charge this fee and those that don’t to compare their returns. It found no difference in the returns of the two. 

In fact, the study concluded that the ROI of the investments that charge this fee is worse because of the increased costs. 

Also, because the 12b-1 fee is a percentage fee, it is calculated according to the size of the portfolio. So, it’s particularly detrimental for investors with large portfolios. 

The 12b-1 fee compounds over time which is another huge drawback of working with Capital ESOP Group UBS. This means it’s extremely damaging to portfolios that focus on long-term growth. 

As this fee goes in the pockets of the advisors, they have a lot of incentive for promoting the investments that charge this fee. Hence, you have no option but to keep your distance from advisors who charge this fee.


The Capital ESOP Group UBS makes many bold claims about its services but the reality is, it’s a nightmare for most investors. If you care about your financial future and your portfolio, you should avoid dealing with this firm and find someone else. 

2.1 Total Score

The Capital ESOP Group UBS lies to investors when it claims to care about its clients’ interests. There are a plethora of conflicts of interest present in their disclosures which encourage the firm to ignore their clients’ financial requirements and goals.

2.6Expert Score
Concern for Clients
1.5User's score
Concern for Clients
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  • None
  • Faced a $100,000 dispute
  • Untrustworthy
  • Charging performance-based fees
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1 Comment
  1. 0.75
    Concern for Clients

    Nosy staff and rude advisors. I would never recommend these guys to anyone.

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