News reports by Financial Advisor IQ, the Los Angeles Times, and other outlets indicate that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has ordered Wells Fargo Advisors to pay a sum of more than $8 million dollars to the former chief executive officer of OfficeMax, the office supplies chain, in connection to Puerto Rico bond investments.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the former officer, Sam Duncan, in 2016 sued Wells Fargo and its broker Marc Rogers over the sales of Puerto Rico bonds which he alleged were unsuitable for his investment profile. He also alleged that Mr. Rogers declined to abide by the firm’s own analysis of Puerto Rico bonds as unsuitable for conservative investment profiles. Mr. Rogers’ bonds were held by a trust established for his children, according to his Times, citing his attorney, who said: ““Rogers knew this was a trust — knew this was money to be invested for future generations… It didn’t take a rocket scientist to know these were risky investments.”
In connection with Mr. Rogers’ lawsuit, a panel of FINRA arbitrators determined that Mr. Rogers and Wells Fargo Advisors owe Mr. Duncan $4.2 million to cover his losses, as well as millions in interest, punitive damages and other costs amounting to $8.6 million. A representative of Wells Fargo Advisors told the Times, “We disagree with the award and we are researching our options.” Mr. Duncan’s lawsuit also named Mr. Rogers’ former firm, RBC Capital Markets, which paid a settlement of $25,000 in May.