A former Morgan Stanley (MS) advisor has prevailed in a case reviewed by a regulatory arbitration panel, and the wirehouse must pay him about $2.4 million.
Dale Cebert, who works in the exclusive Florida retirement community The Villages, north of Orlando, began work for Morgan Stanley in 2012 but was let go in 2014. Cebert is now affiliated with FSC Securities, part of the Advisor Group of independent broker-dealers.
A FINRA arbitration panel found that Morgan Stanley instigated a “flawed internal investigation that was conducted, acted upon, and reported with reckless disregard for its accuracy and completeness,” according to the panel’s decision, finalized last Monday. The firm also made defamatory statements to the advisor’s clients “in at least a grossly negligent manner (if not with a self-serving, malicious move) … that defamed or were intended to defame [Cebert] in the minds of his customers.”
“We disagree with the panel’s decision regarding this case,” Morgan Stanley said in a statement.
As part of the ruling, Morgan Stanley must alter the advisor’s U-5 form so that it reads he was “terminated without cause.” The firm also must remove its assertion that he was fired for conducting an outside business.