Morgan Stanley (MS) has agreed to settle a case in Mississippi and pay $4.7 million, $4.2 million of which will be used to compensate investors.
The case involves about 200 clients who had accounts handled by the Ridgeland branch office from December 2007 to June 2012 and mainly worked with then-advisor Steven Wyatt, who was barred from the industry in May, and advisor Hilary Zimmerman; their branch supervisor at the time was Fred Brister, who gave up his securities registration when he retired in May.
According to FINRA records, some clients previously won damage awards in disputes involving the advisors; the investors said they conducted unauthorized trades, conducted excessive turnover and bought unsuitable investments for them, while misrepresenting the investment strategies.
Prior to the settlement, Mississippi’s Securities Division conducted a multi-year investigation after receiving complaints from clients who had lost money.
“This is a significant settlement which is a culmination of hard work by the Division on behalf of investors,” said Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, in a statement released Wednesday. “It exemplifies the important investor protection role the Agency serves to safeguard our citizens through fair regulation and enforcement and hopefully deterrence.”