We recently wrote about securities arbitration claims our securities attorneys are handling involving former Morgan Stanley broker Angel Aquino, (CRD #2687333), while he was a stockbroker with Morgan Stanley. He resigned from the company in July of 2017 after multiple customer complaints and securities arbitration claims. Current customer disputes filed against Aquino currently add up to nearly $12 million. A new related complaint was filed on May 8, 2018 against Aquino and Morgan Stanley (CRD #149777.) He is not currently registered as a broker, and no current employment information is available. Morgan Stanley continues to be subject to multiple claims relating to its recommendation and sale of Puerto Rico bonds.
The complaints stem from Aquino’s heavy emphasis on investments in Puerto Rico Cofina bonds. These are backed by the island’s sales tax revenue, and have triple-tax-free status. They became a popular investment for Wall Street banks to sell to retirees and other investors, but when things changed, the bonds didn’t pay as much and many advisors allegedly failed to disclose the risks with the bonds. But Aquino continued to sell his customers heavily on Puerto Rico bonds, even while they lost money.
Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy in May of 2017 for relief of $70 billion in municipal debt. On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria swept through the island and destroyed crops, damaged aging infrastructure and flooded the cities. No clear path exists for Puerto Rico to meet its debt obligations.