Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (MS) and Citigroup Global Markets (MS) have settled civil charges brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission accusing the two firms of making misleading and false statements about the CitiFX Alpha, which is a foreign exchange trading program. Without denying or admitting to the regulator’s findings, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup will each pay more than $624K of disgorgement, interest of over $89K, and a $2.25M penalty.
Citigroup’s ownership interest in Morgan Stanley was a 49% stake during the period at issue, from 8/2010 to 11/2011, when the firms’ registered representatives were marketing the CitiFX Alpha to Morgan Stanley customers.
However, according to the regulator, the oral and written representations that these representatives made were based on previous risk metrics and performance. Meantime, they purportedly did not do an adequate enough job of disclosing to investors that the latter could be put into the forex trading program with the use of more leverage than what was promoted, as well as that there would be markups for each trade.