More On Legal & Compliancefrom The Advisor's Professional Library
- Trading Practices and Errors When SEC-registered investment advisors conduct annual audits of firm policies and procedures, they should pay close attention to trading practices. Though usually not required to, state-registered advisors should look at their trading practices and revise policies that do not fully protect clients.
- Disaster Recovery Plans and Succession Planning RIAs owe a fiduciary duty to clients to prepare for disasters and other contingencies. If an RIA does not have a disaster recovery plan, clients financial well-being may be jeopardized. RIAs should also engage in succession planning, ensuring a smooth transaction if an owner or principal leaves.
Morgan Stanley & Co. will pay the Financial Industry Regulatory authority (FINRA) a total of $12.5 million on behalf of its "former affiliate" Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, (MSDW) according to a FINRA statement issued September 27, for failing "on numerous occasions to provide emails to claimants in arbitration proceedings as well as to regulators--while representing that the destruction of the firm's e-mail servers in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks," which destroyed MSDW's World Trade Center offices, "resulted in the loss of all pre-9/11 email."
The FINRA statement says that "millions of pre-9/11 emails" that had been stored off-site before the attacks, and "had been restored to the firm's active e-mail system," but were not provided anyway.
In a "first of its kind" settlement, according to FINRA, $9.5 million will be distributed to "two groups of customers," which FINRA estimates to be "several thousand customers," to settle arbitration cases brought against MSDW. A separate fine of $3 million was imposed for the firm's "failure to provide pre-9/11 e-mails and updates to a supervisory manual."
Susan Merrill, executive VP and chief of enforcement at FINRA says in the announcement: "We are particularly pleased that this unique settlement directs the bulk of the monetary sanction to the customers in arbitrations, to remedy MSDW's discovery failures."
For the full statement from FINRA, please go here.