Two former brokers for Morgan Stanley who worked at the midtown Manhattan branch of the firm filed a lawsuit against the company and a manager of the branch worth $20 million in damages, claiming they were wrongfully fired after reporting alleged securities violations and fraud occurring at the branch.
The employees are James Boland and Jaime Feldman-Boland, a married couple. The two were fired in 2011 after the firm claimed they did not meet the performance requirements for their positions. However, the couple claims these alleged performance issues were a convenient pretext for terminating them after they reported the misconduct allegedly occurring within the firm.
According to the couple, there were unlicensed trainees at the firm who were cold calling various prospects with some misleading scripts and information, along with brokers making changes to client risk profiles and advisers working from home without appropriate supervision.
Some of the alleged cold calls were made to employees at other companies like Verizon and Pfizer. The targeted employees who received these calls were close to retirement age and had existing 401(k) plans with Fidelity Investments. The purpose of the calls was reportedly to solicit these employees to transfer their account to Morgan Stanley, promising a 15 percent return. The complaint alleges that once the accounts were rolled over, Morgan Stanley also changed the new clients’ risk profiles so that they could invest in some riskier closed-end funds.
Ms. Feldman-Boland says she initially reported the concerns to David Turetzky, the branch manager, but he simply told her to leave his office. The next month, both she and her husband were terminated.
To learn more about issues of wrongful termination or retaliation could impact your organization, speak with the trusted Dallas attorneys at Whistleblower Law for Managers to learn about your options.