Morgan Stanley Smacked by NY AG For Mortgages


Law360, New York (February 11, 2016, 10:11 AM ET) — 6-Pack Bank and Global BrokerDealer Morgan Stanley agreed today to pay $3.2 billion to resolve claims that it misled investors about mortgage-backed securities before the financial crisis, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

The settlement is the latest among big banks related to the financial crisis, and ends government claims that Morgan Stanley misrepresented to investors the mortgages it packaged into securities. 

The settlement is the latest among big banks related to the financial crisis, bringing to a close government claims that Morgan Stanley told investors that the mortgages it packaged into securities were of higher quality than was actually the case. The firm’s misstatements cost investors billions of dollars and the problematic mortgages helped cause many homeowners to lose their homes or suffer significant financial losses, Schneiderman said.

“Today’s agreement is another victory in our efforts to help New Yorkers rebuild in the wake of the financial devastation caused by major banks,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

For the full story from Law360, please click here

Broker-Dealers Breakaway to Equity-Owned Boutiques

breakaway-broker movement

Breakaway-Broker Movement Continues…

Traditional wire-house brokerdealers and brokers/investment advisors are increasingly departing big securities firms and migrating to equity-owned boutiques that provide these brokers with private equity ownership in a business model that makes more sense to them, and hopefully more dollars.

WSJ’s Michael Wursthorn summarized this new trend in a recent column “Rise of the Broker Turned Entrepreneur…” and gives an update to continuing saga in the now multi-year “breakaway-broker” movement with extract below..

For financial advisers who launch their own independent practices, having equity is king.

Those ownership stakes are very different from the shares many held in big securities firms that previously employed them. The private-company equity comes with big advantages but also risks.

During the financial crisis, brokers at the major brokerage firms suffered a steep drop in a key portion of their compensation: the value of the shares they were given in those firms. Since then, some brokers say they generally have less interest in receiving shares in the firms they work for, instead favoring higher cash payouts, if possible.

But that attitude is being put aside by brokers who are taking flight from the big firms to launch their own practices or who join one already established. In fact, the allure of an ownership stake in a private practice is helping to push more advisers to join the growing number of so-called breakaway brokers.

For the entire 10 October article from the WSJ, click here

Next Generation BrokerDealers Dare to Displace Old Guard Banks and Brokerages

Start-up broker-dealer “Aspiration” aspires to succeed via “pay us what you think we deserve” model; Palo Alto’s “Robinhood” offers “commission-free trading” and wants to make money the old-fashioned way: interest on deposits and margin loans (in a near-zero interest rate environment).  For those inspired by this new trend, provides a forum by which start-ups in the finance industry can network with prospective investors. blog update is courtesy of below extracts from 23 Dec NYT DealBook story by William Alden.

Editors note: For those not aware, the notion of “commission-free trading” is often a fallacy and a term that financial industry regulators somehow allow service providers to use, despite Finra’s self-acclaiming focus for cracking down on deceptive advertising. Few brokerdealers offer anything for ‘free’. Those who offer ‘commission-free’ trading for customers typically receive rebate payments aka payment for order flow checks in consideration for routing customer orders to the various electronic exchanges who dangle kickbacks in consideration for brokers delivering orders to their venue.

Andrei Cherny, Aspiration CEO

Andrei Cherny, Aspiration CEO

From Dealbook: “..A number of new financial start-ups are trying to reach younger and middle-class Americans by upending the customary fee structure of traditional brokerage firms and money managers. They are backed by deep-pocketed venture capital investors — and even celebrities like the rapper Snoop Dogg — who are wagering that these upstarts can challenge the Wall Street establishment…

Aspiration, a start-up wealth manager on Sunset Boulevard here, which had its official debut last month, is asking customers to pay whatever they think is “fair.” That can be as much as 2 percent of their assets, or as low as zero. Reflecting its high-minded goals, the company has also pledged to donate 10 percent of its revenue to charity.

Robinhood, a new brokerage firm based in Palo Alto, Calif., whose founders were inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, introduced an app this month that lets customers trade stocks without paying commissions. (The firm plans to make money by offering margin loans and by collecting a portion of the interest earned on customer money invested in money market funds.)

Big banks and brokerage firms haven’t been sitting still. Charles Schwab, for example, recently said it would introduce an automated investment service that doesn’t charge advisory fees. But many are constrained by new regulations or their own inertia. The public’s persistent skepticism of these institutions in the wake of the financial crisis hasn’t helped, either.

Some industry experts have voiced skepticism about the viability of the new business models, including those of Aspiration and Robinhood. But venture capitalists have been happy to bet that technology-focused start-ups can offer more appealing products for buying stocks or managing savings. Continue reading

Study Says: BrokerDealers Still In Need of Brand Burnishing blog update courtesy of extract from 10 July NY Post, reporter Gregory Bresiger.

New York City - Helicopter tourWall Street’s reputation, despite a 5-year bull market, still stinks.

Indeed, the bankers’ “chronic risk image” remains a huge problem, say many of the mid-level pros who work for its largest firms.

The Street’s regulatory and image problems continue to spook many traders and bankers, who say the risks and dangers of the industry are about the same as before the stock market meltdown of 2008, according to the results of the Makovsky Wall Street Reputation Study.

“The 2014 study findings question how far financial services brands have advanced since the financial crisis,” according to Scott Tangney, executive vice president at Makovsky.

“The industry,” he adds, “is walking on a tightrope, with the combination of negative perception, regulator actions and greater risk sapping reputation and financial performance.”

Financial services continue to be “pummeled by negative perception and regulatory overhaul and action,” according to poll respondents.

The biggest perception problems for the industry, the poll found, were “negative public perception” (64 percent) and “regulatory actions” (55 percent). The latter includes investigations, lawsuits and fines.

Other highlights of the Makovsky study include: (to continue reading, please click here to the NY Post article)