Morgan Stanley Chairman and Chief Executive James Gorman defended the securities firm’s role in Facebook’s tumultuous initial public offering, telling employees internally that the firm worked “100% within the rules” and calling the steep decline in Facebook’s stock “disappointing.” Mr. Gorman, in a weekly strategy meeting Tuesday that was later webcast to employees, said “speculation of nefarious activity” surrounding the social networking company’s IPO is untrue. Contrary to some reports, he said, he wasn’t “aware of any dissent” among the underwriting firms regarding Facebook’s IPO price of $38 a share. The discussion, called a strategy forum, is held weekly at the firm. The event, which Mr. Gorman attends periodically, features commentary from analysts and economists and is linked to on the company’s internal website.
Mr. Gorman told employees to “be proud of the job your colleagues did [in the Facebook IPO process] and don’t judge us based upon what happened over a couple of days.” Commenting on Facebook’s stock performance, Mr. Gorman acknowledged the first day of trading “matters” but added investors should also judge an IPO based on its share price after 30 days, 90 days and 12 months.