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February 14, 2017

Posted  February 27, 2017

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney will pay an $8 million penalty and admit wrongdoing to settle charges related to single inverse ETF investments it recommended to advisory clients.  The SEC’s order finds that Morgan Stanley did not adequately implement its policies and procedures to ensure that clients understood the risks involved with purchasing inverse ETFs.  Among the order’s findings, Morgan Stanley failed to obtain from several hundred clients a signed client disclosure notice, which stated that single inverse ETFs were typically unsuitable for investors planning to hold them longer than one trading session unless used as part of a hedging strategy.  Morgan Stanley solicited clients to purchase single inverse ETFs in retirement and other accounts, the securities were held long-term, and many clients experienced losses.  The SEC’s order further found that Morgan Stanley failed to follow through on another key policy and procedure requiring a supervisor to conduct risk reviews to evaluate the suitability of inverse ETFs for each advisory client.  Finally, the SEC’s order found that Morgan Stanley failed to monitor the single ETF positions on an on-going basis and did not ensure that certain financial advisers completed single inverse ETF training.  SEC

Tagged in: Financial and Investment Fraud, Financial Institution Fraud, Regulatory Violations,