Morgan Stanley Must Pay Connecticut Regulators $5M for Supervisory Violations

Morgan Stanley (MS) must pay banking regulators in Connecticut $5 million over allegations that the broker-dealer did not properly oversee the communications of its brokers. According to The Connecticut Department of banking, there were a number of issues with the firm’s supervisory procedures. The firm is settling without denying or admitting to the securities allegations.

The state regulators say that Morgan Stanley, which has wealth management branch offices in Connecticut, gave them information about their supervisory procedures that either was “obsolete” or nonexistent. Connecticut Securities Division director Eric Wilder also said that the firm had not updated its written supervisory procedures or compliance manuals for a number of years.

Morgan Stanley is accused of depending on an unqualified third-party provider in India to review all email communications. According to Connecticut regulators, the brokerage firm neglected to make sure that whoever was overseeing the India provider had the proper license and was following the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s most current procedures. (Wilder said that the minimum criteria that someone in that country needed to fulfill the compliance function was the ability to speak English-Morgan Stanley has specifically denied this allegation.)

To resolve the claims, the firm is going to update its written procedures. Branch supervisors will also be granted direct access to oversee the emails of advisers. Meantime, the third-party service provider in India can continue to work with Morgan Stanley but the proper licenses are required.

Connecticut Banking Regulators Settle With Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Over E-Mail Problems
, Courant.com, June 16, 2014

Banking Commissioner Announces $5 Million Settlement With Morgan Stanley, Connecticut Department of Banking, June 16, 2014

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PNC Bank Sues Morgan Stanley & Ex-Trust Adviser For “Surreptitious Conspiracy”, Institutional Investor Securities Blog, April 3, 2014

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