From an investor's perspective, Morgan Stanley has just had to confess that the ultimate nightmare has come true: the firm has lost CD-ROMs containing personal information on 34,000 clients.
The firm mailed the data to the New York State tax department in June, but somewhere within the government offices the discs themselves disappeared.
Morgan reportedly conducted an "exhaustive" -- and likely somewhat frantic -- search for the discs before breaking down and letting the clients know that they were gone in a June 24 letter.
This desire to save face exposed those clients to a two-week period in which their Social Security numbers, brokerage account numbers, and other key information were subject to misuse.
Morgan tried to soften the blow by promising that "we have no evidence that your sensitive account information has been misused."
But the discs are still out there, reportedly password-protected but not encrypted in any way. Let's hope they turn up, untampered with.
The clients have been offered a free year of credit report monitoring service from Experian.