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$15 Million Complaint Filed Against Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor Michael J. Wagner Regarding Options

Michael J. Wagner (CRD#: 4465334) is a dually registered Broker and Investment Advisor at Morgan Stanley in Atlanta, GA.

Broker’s Background

He entered the securities industry in 2001 and previously worked for Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc.

Current And Past Allegations Of Conduct Leading To Investment Loss

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in November 2021, a customer dispute was filed against Michael J. Wagner. The allegation states, “Client alleged FA employed unsuitable options investment strategy.” Damages of $15M are requested. The customer dispute is pending.

In addition, Michael J. Wagner has been the subject of two customer complaints, including one that remains pending, including the following:

  • August 2021 – “CLIENT ALLEGES, INTER ALIA, THAT STOCK OPTION STRATEGY IMPLEMENTED IN HIS ACCOUNT WAS MISREPRESENTED 2020 DAMAGES UNSPECIFIED.” The customer dispute was denied.
  • November 2020 – “Claimants alleged misrepresentation with respect to option strategy in managed accounts – January 2019 to January 2020.” Damages of $5M are requested. The customer dispute is pending.

For a copy of Michael J. Wagner’s FINRA BrokerCheck, click here.

Options strategies are complex. Depending on the strategy implemented, risk can be magnified because options are leveraged. For example, for every one option, bought or sold, the customer effectively controls 100 shares of the underlying security. If the underlying security moves against the customer before the option expires, the customer can experience large investment losses, sometimes in excess of the principal invested.

We Help Investors Recover Investment Losses

Financial advisors have a legal and regulatory obligation to recommend only suitable investments that are appropriate for their clients’ needs and objectives. Their employing brokerage firm has a legal and regulatory obligation to supervise the Financial Advisors’ sales practices and dealings with clients. To the extent any of these duties are breached, the customer may be entitled to a recovery of his or her investment losses.

Reasonable basis suitability requires that a recommended investment or investment strategy be suitable or appropriate for at least some investors. Reasonable basis suitability requires an advisor to conduct adequate due diligence so that he or she can determine the risks and rewards of the investment or investment strategy.

Quantitative suitability requires a brokerage firm or financial advisor with actual or de facto control over a customer’s account to have a reasonable basis for believing that a series of recommended transactions – even if suitable when viewed in isolation – is not excessive and unsuitable for the customer when taken together in light of the customer’s investment profile. No single test defines excessive activity, but factors such as the turnover rate, the cost-equity ratio, and the use of in-and-out trading in a customer’s account may provide a basis for a finding that a member or associated person has violated the quantitative suitability obligation.

Customer-specific suitability requires that a member or associated person have a reasonable basis to believe that the recommendation is suitable for a particular customer based on that customer’s investment profile. Among the criteria that a financial advisor must evaluate to satisfy his or her customer-specific suitability obligations include the investor’s age, tax status, time horizon, liquidity needs, and risk tolerance; a client’s other investments, financial situation and needs, investment objectives, and any other information disclosed by the customer should also be considered.

The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration on a contingency fee basis.  Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, is a trial lawyer who has handled hundreds of securities cases during his career involving a wide range of products, strategies and securities. Prior to representing investors, he was a partner with a national law firm, where he represented some of the largest banks and brokerage firms in the world in securities matters. We can be reached at (800) 931-8452 or by email at mwolper@wolperlawfirm.com.

Attorney Matthew Wolper

Attorney Matthew WolperMatt Wolper is a trial lawyer who focuses exclusively on securities litigation and arbitration. Mr. Wolper has handled hundreds of securities matters nationwide before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), JAMS, and in state and federal court. Mr. Wolper has handled and tried cases involving complex financial products and strategies ranging from traditional stocks and bonds to options, margin and other securities-based lending products, closed/open-end mutual funds, structured products, hedge funds, and penny stocks. [Attorney Bio]