Ex-Morgan Stanley Broker Barred Over NFL Ticket Scam
A former broker’s more-than 25-year career in the securities industry ended this week when the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority barred him for stealing money from Morgan Stanley as a result of improperly expensing 47 National Football League tickets.
In an agreement signed on Tuesday with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Bruce M. Weinstein consented to a finding that he asked Morgan Stanley to reimburse him $5,035 for entertaining clients at home games of the New York Giants and New York Jets games in 2014. He actually sold the tickets to a third party, Finra investigators found.
The former broker, who was most recently affiliated with Sterne Agee Financial Services in Boca Raton, Fla., and Princeton, N.J., received $2,605 of his requested expenses before Morgan Stanley discovered the misconduct, according to the settlement agreement published on the regulator’s website. It does not indicate what Weinstein received for selling the tickets.
The former broke settled the charges of “converting funds” and causing Morgan Stanley to maintain inaccurate books and records without admitting or denying the findings, according to the settlement.
In an email, Weinstein declined to discuss the ban, but indicated that he is involved in an arbitration proceeding against Morgan Stanley. According to a comment he inserted about his “voluntary resignation” from the firm in 2014 on his U-4 regulatory filing, the firm began investigating his expenses to retaliate for a claim he filed alleging that his managers owed him an “agreed-upon bonus.”
A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman said the firm was not a party to the Finra settlement and declined further comment.
The bar illustrates growing regulatory and firm intolerance for bad behavior that historically had been met with internal warnings or minor fines, even for someone like Weinstein who may not have been a major revenue producer, observers said.
“It used to be a ‘corporate sport’ to pad your account and see what you can get away with,” said Jeremy Bartell, a lawyer in Washington D.C. “But in the broker-dealer industry it’s such a bad idea. Even minimal amounts can toast your career.”
Merrill Lynch last month fired a billion-dollar Boston-based broker over allegations that he improperly sought reimbursement of personal expenses. Weinstein managed around $85 million of client assets when he left Morgan Stanley, according to a person who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The former broker worked at 10 firms throughout his career, beginning at Merrill Lynch in 1986, and has five disclosure events on his BrokerCheck profile prior to the three relating to the expense-account incident.
In April 2014, Morgan Stanley agreed to pay $56,000 to a client who was seeking double that amount over alleged excessive and unauthorized trading by Weinstein. He noted that the case was settled to avoid the cost of litigation.