Massachusetts Flags Ex-Morgan Stanley Broker Fired over Email
An email a former Morgan Stanley broker in Boston sent to colleagues not only landed him in hot water with the firm, but also caught the eye of state securities regulators.
The order notes that the email was not investment or client related, but does not provide additional detail. A Morgan Stanley source said it may have included insensitive or politically incorrect allusions.
DeNicola, who spent all but three rookie years of his career at Morgan Stanley and predecessor firms, according to BrokerCheck, declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley. The state consent order said he has not been subject to any client complaints in the past 10 years, although it noted he had a total of 10 previous complaints on his record dating back to 1987.
If the allegations are true, the case points to the increasing intolerance among firms and regulators for lapses in judgement and also heightened sensitivity to inappropriate language and behavior. The order also comes as regulators have been encouraging firms to bolster their heightened supervision programs in recent years.
State securities regulators review broker registration applications on a case-by-case basis and have broad discretion in deciding who to approve or subject to additional screening, according to Alabama Securities Commission Director Joseph Borg.
“There’s a pretty wide latitude,” said Borg, who said he was not familiar with DeNicola’s case. “Maybe whoever examined this one took a stronger approach than another state would.”
DeNicola, whose LinkedIn profile shows he is a managing director at Moors & Cabot, transferred his Financial Industry Regulatory Authority brokerage license to Moors & Cabot on April 1, concurrent with his termination from Morgan Stanley, but still had to register as an agent in the state.
A spokeswoman for Massachusetts securities division, which is led by Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, did not immediately return a request for additional comment on the order or how many brokers it has placed under heightened supervision.
Under the terms of the order, Moors & Cabot and the manager of its Boston headquarters branch where DeNicola is based must review DeNicola’s internal communications monthly and conduct annual reviews of all his Massachusetts customer accounts. They must also meet twice a year to review firm policies and Finra rules and document the meetings.
A spokeswoman for the Moors & Cabot, which was founded in 1890 and has 20 offices concentrated in the Northeast, did not return a request for comment.
DeNicola started at Dean Witter Reynolds in 1985 and also spent a year at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp. before joining Legg Mason Wood Walker in 1988 and remaining there through successive mergers with Smith Barney and ultimately Morgan Stanley, according to his BrokerCheck.