Morgan Stanley sues former adviser, claims he falsified records

Reuters

NEW YORK, Nov 1 (Reuters) - Morgan Stanley's wealthmanagement division sued former financial adviser Denis O'Brienon Thursday, claiming that he falsified 206 client telephonenumbers just before leaving the firm.

According to the complaint, O'Brien changed the numbers for156 client accounts on the firm's computer systems on theafternoon of his sudden resignation on Oct. 25, while taking hisclients' contact list to solicit them at his new job.

O'Brien, who registered with rival brokerage Raymond JamesFinancial on the same day, changed many of the phonenumbers by just a single digit, preventing Morgan Stanleyfinancial advisers from promptly reaching his clients after heleft, the complaint alleged.

O'Brien could not be reached for comment.

O'Brien had worked at Morgan Stanley's Mystic, Connecticutsince August 2004 before joining Raymond James Financial'soffice, also in Mystic.

O'Brien notified Morgan Stanley that he was taking theclient list, and left a copy with the correct phone numbers withthe firm, but Morgan Stanley was initially unaware of thediscrepancy between the list and the altered computerizedrecords, the complaint said.

O'Brien's notification that he would leave with informationabout his clients complied with the protocol of almost all U.S.brokerage and advisory firms.

The complaint alleged, however, that O'Brien violated anagreement upon joining Morgan Stanley nine years ago that hewould not attempt to solicit clients for a year after leaving.

Morgan Stanley is seeking a temporary restraining orderagainst O'Brien to "prevent further irreparable harm" to thefirm, the complaint said.

A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman declined to comment on thecomplaint. A spokeswoman for Raymond James declined to comment,noting that the firm had not received or been served with anylegal complaint.

The case is Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC v. O'Brien, U.S.District Court, District of Connecticut, No. 13-01598.

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