New York Law Firm Prevails for New Jersey Investor in Arbitration over Puerto Rico Muni Bonds

Jan 28, 2016, 09:00 ET from Deutsch & Lipner

GARDEN CITY, N.Y., Jan. 28, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- A FINRA arbitration panel decision in November 2015 required securities firm Morgan Stanley to pay $95,632 to a New Jersey investor for unsuitable recommendations to buy and hold Puerto Rico bonds.  The award is believed to be the first of its kind involving an investor in the States.  The award is Schiffman v. Morgan Stanley, FINRA Case No. 14-01573.

"Puerto Rico's troubles go back to 2012, yet many brokers appear not to have known," said Seth E. Lipner of Deutsch & Lipner in Garden City, New York.

Mr. Lipner represented the investor in the case.  He said his firm is prosecuting similar cases against other broker dealers, and is investigating sales of Puerto Rico bonds by Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Stifel Nicolaus and Hennion & Walsh.

According to Mr. Lipner, very few Wall Street brokerage firms had research on Puerto Rico.  "Some brokers who recommended the bonds appear to have relied only on the credit ratings.  Their due diligence function was practically non-existent," Lipner said.

As Puerto Rico teeters on the edge of bankruptcy, investors have suffered losses of between 20% and 40% of their investments, depending on which Puerto Rico bonds they own.  "The Puerto Rico economy cannot support its debt levels.  It doesn't look like these bonds are coming back," Mr. Lipner commented.

Investors have a limited time to seek redress.  Their exclusive remedy is through FINRA arbitration.

Deutsch & Lipner is a nationally-prominent securities arbitration law firm with a 30-year record of recovering money for investors.  Mr. Lipner is the author of the leading treatise, Securities Arbitration Desk Reference, available from West Publishing.  Mr. Lipner can be contacted by email at or 516-294-8899.

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SOURCE Deutsch & Lipner