In Wake Of Exec "Accidentally" Stabbing A Cab Driver, Morgan Stanley Insists You Ask, "What Would The Post Say?"

A year ago this Friday, a Morgan Stanley banker named William Bryan Jennings attended a couple holiday parties, drank a few Coors Lights, and around 10:30PM hailed a cab and asked the driver, Helmy Ammar, to take him home to Connecticut. On the way, a hungry WBJ requested they stop at G&G Deli off 10th Avenue, where he bought "a 20 oz. bottle of Aquafina water, a sandwich and some Burger King cheesy fries." As the cab entered approached Jennings' hometown of Darien, a dispute reportedly broke out as to what the fare for the ride would be. Ammar claims that they'd agreed on $204 before leaving Manhattan, but once in Connecticut, Jennings said he'd only pay $50. Jennings claims that Ammar jacked the price up to $300 and was unhappy when the banker offered $160. Another matter of he said/he said is whether or not Jennings started shouting racial slurs at Ammar and told him, "I'm going to kill you. You should go back to your country!" (Jennings denies this happened and says that Ammar locked the doors and wouldn't let him out of the cab.) The one aspect of the story that is not in dispute is that as tensions flared, WBJ whipped out a pen knife he had in his pocket. For those of you reading from Morgan Stanley, this is where the teachable moments occurs: if you ever find yourself in a situation wherein you're winding up to stab a cab driver in the hand, stop and ask yourself, "Is this going to look bad in the Post tomorrow morning?" Jennings did not and now this is happening:
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A year ago this Friday, a Morgan Stanley banker named William Bryan Jennings attended a couple holiday parties, drank a few Coors Lights, and around 10:30PM hailed a cab and asked the driver, Helmy Ammar, to take him home to Connecticut. On the way, a hungry WBJ requested they stop at G&G Deli off 10th Avenue, where he bought "a 20 oz. bottle of Aquafina water, a sandwich and some Burger King cheesy fries." As the cab entered approached Jennings' hometown of Darien, a dispute reportedly broke out as to what the fare for the ride would be. Ammar claims that they'd agreed on $204 before leaving Manhattan, but once in Connecticut, Jennings said he'd only pay $50. Jennings claims that Ammar jacked the price up to $300 and was unhappy when the banker offered $160. Another matter of he said/he said is whether or not Jennings started shouting racial slurs at Ammar and told him, "I'm going to kill you. You should go back to your country!" (Jennings denies this happened and says that Ammar locked the doors and wouldn't let him out of the cab.)

The one aspect of the story that is not in dispute is that as tensions flared, WBJ whipped out a pen knife he had in his pocket. For those of you reading from Morgan Stanley, this is where the teachable moments occurs: if you ever find yourself in a situation wherein you're winding up to stab a cab driver in the hand, stop and ask yourself, "Is this going to look bad in the Post tomorrow morning?" Jennings did not and now this is happening:

[Jennings] was fired in early October, two weeks before the [prosecutors dropped assault and hate-crime charges against him]. A brief letter to him didn't go into much detail, but Morgan Stanley officials have said Mr. Jennings breached the securities firm's 22-page code of conduct, according to people familiar with the matter. Now the banker, who goes by "Bryan," and his former bosses are in a tug of war over millions of dollars in deferred compensation that Mr. Jennings accumulated during his 19-year career at the New York company. Officials at the firm believe it owes him nothing, citing "clawback" provisions that allow the company to withhold or seize pay from employees who hurt Morgan Stanley. Since the financial crisis, Morgan Stanley and other firms have expanded such policies to cover behavior that contributed to outsize losses or reputational harm, rather than just outright fraud or financial misstatements.

A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman said the firm doesn't comment on specific instances or individuals but that "the clawback provisions in our compensation model allow us to take action where appropriate." People close to Mr. Jennings say Morgan Stanley refused to give him a deferred-compensation payment in June and has frozen as much as $5 million or more, depending on how the payout is calculated... Mr. Jennings's firing was a reminder that embarrassing the company can cost employees as much as poor job performance. "How would my action appear as a headline in tomorrow's newspaper?" is one of five questions Morgan Stanley employees are told in its code of conduct to "consider…before you act."

According to the Journal, "the position taken by Morgan Stanley goes all the way to the top, including Chairman and Chief Executive James Gorman and Chief Legal Officer Eric Grossman" and in addition to canning the guy, someone at the bank who apparently specializes in rubbing salt in the wound put his best men on this:

Mr. Jennings is mad that Morgan Stanley left all his personal belongings from the office piled up in boxes in his driveway, people close to him say.

Obviously the question many of you are asking yourselves at this time is, in what matter did WBJ find his stuff: haphazardly strewn all over the place or piled in bankers boxes at the foot of his driveway? In our professional opinions, it was clearly the latter, as stacking them neatly-- and acting all, "What? This is standard operating procedure"-- seems to strike a much harsher note.* As would putting Jennings' picture as a footnote to the section about not embarrassing the firm in the company handbook, next to Phil Purcell's, added as a deterrent for anyone thinking of "violently berating a doorman, spitting in a waitress's face, telling off a cop, parking in a handicapped space, and killing a hooker" (all in one night).

A Banker's Costly Ride [WSJ]
Earlier: Morgan Stanley Exec “Accidentally” Stabs Cab Driver After Difference Of Opinion Re: Fare; Morgan Stanley Exec Maintains Innocence Re: Stabbing Cab Driver; Morgan Stanley Exec Who “Accidentally” Stabbed Cab Driver After Difference Of Opinion Re: Fare Gets Off; Morgan Stanley Executive Pretty Pleased To Have Stabbing Charges Dropped
*Don't be fooled into thinking it was a nice gesture to deliver his stuff-- this was clearly done to say, "Here's your shit. We'll just leave it at the foot of our driveway, since you don't have an office anymore.

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Morgan Stanley Exec "Accidentally" Stabs Cab Driver After Difference Of Opinion Re: Fare

William Bryan Jennings is the co-head of North American fixed-income capital markets at Morgan Stanley, though his responsibilities have been passed onto a coworker for the time being until a particular matter is "resolved." That matter would be a cab ride he took on the evening of December 22, which resulted in Jennings being charged with "second-degree assault, theft of services and second-degree intimidation based on race or bigotry." At present, there are two conflicting stories about what happened. According to the cabbie, Jennings was driven from Manhattan to his home in Darien, CT, at which point he refused to pay the $200 cab fare and instead began "threatening the driver and using racial slurs," before intentionally stabbing the guy's hand with a "pen knife" that he "uses for fishing." According to Jennings' lawyer, upon arriving at in Connecticut, WBJ, who colleagues have described as the "nicest guy you'll meet," was appalled to learn of the "exorbitant amount" the driver was charging (which WBJ claims had been upped to $300). After refusing to pay, the driver supposedly told Jennings he was "going to take him back to the city," at which point Jennings pulled out the pen knife he had on him and "demanded to be let out of the car because he was fearful for his safety," cutting the driver who WBJ "did not intend to hurt" after he put his hand through the dividing window. Jennings' lawyer has 1) denied the racial slurs and 2) said it's “mind-boggling" that his client was charged and not the other way around (though, according to reports, the driver called the police at 12:30am to report the incident, and Jennings never did). As none of us were there at the time, we should refrain from speculating as to which half of the he said/he said is telling the truth. Though clearly there are a couple of important takeaways here, including but not limited to the fact that if one is going to snub the Metro North, one should expect to pay, figuratively but more so literally. Manhattan to Connecticut? I've had rides from the UWS to Midtown East cost upwards of $40. Let's not do this dance.

Morgan Stanley Exec Maintains Innocence Re: Stabbing Cab Driver

William Bryan Jennings, the co-head of North American fixed-income capital markets at Morgan Stanley who is currently on leave, appeared in court today (wearing "a blue suit, white shirt and patterned tie") to plead not guilty to assault and hate-crime charges. Those charges would be the ones that resulted from an incident in which he took a cab from Manhattan to Connecticut (with a fateful stop for snacks), got into a dispute with the driver over the fare, and "accidentally" stabbed the guy with a pen knife. According to Bloomberg, following the plea, WBJ and his lawyer "drove away in a pickup truck."

Morgan Stanley Exec Who "Accidentally" Stabbed Cab Driver After Difference Of Opinion Re: Fare Gets Off (Update)

Remember William Bryan Jennings? To recap, he's the Morgan Stanley executive who last December had a cab take him home to Darien, Connecticut from Manhattan and, according to the driver, refused to pay the $200 fare and instead began threatening the guy with racial slurs before intentionally stabbing his hand with a pen knife. According to WBJ's lawyer, the stabbing did happen but it was by accident and Jennings only pulled out the knife he had on him because he was "fearful for his safety" and "did not intend to hurt" the driver. The two parted ways around midnight, at which time Jennings went to bed and the cabbie called the police, who had trouble identifying WBJ until they got a lucky break with video footage from the deli on 10th Avenue he asked the driver to stop at for snacks on the way to CT. Anyway, Jennings, who was placed on leave from Morgan Stanley in March, was set to appear in court on Monday but then this happened: Connecticut prosecutors will not pursue charges against a top Morgan Stanley banker accused of stabbing a cabby in a drunken, racist rage over a fare from Manhattan, the cabby’s lawyer said yesterday. The decision to let W. Bryan Jennings off the hook has left the cabby “outraged,” his lawyer said. Jennings, from the ritzy Gold Coast town of Darien, had originally been charged with assault, theft of service and intimidation based on race or bigotry after the December 2011 incident. But Hassan Ahmad, the lawyer for cabby Mohamed Ammar, said Stamford prosecutors have told him they’re dropping the case...Jennings’ lawyer would not comment, and the State’s Attorney’s Office in Stamford could not be reached. No word on whether or not there's still a place for him at the House of Gorman. Earlier: Morgan Stanley Exec “Accidentally” Stabs Cab Driver After Difference Of Opinion Re: Fare

Layoffs/Bonus Watch '12/13: Morgan Stanley

Back in January, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman sent a simple messages to his employees, who had been grumbling about their pay: STFU or GTFO. "You're naive, read the newspaper, No.1," Gorman told Bloomberg he would say to any members of his staff that wanted to give him lip about their compensation to his face. "No. 2, if you put your compensation in a one-year context to define your over all level of happiness, you have a problem which is much bigger than this job. And No. 3, if you're really unhappy, just leave." Today, in an interview with the FT, Gorman reiterated his stance and added that in addition to reducing compensation for current employees, the bank will likely be drastically cutting pay for future analysts. If anyone has a problem with that, consider applying for a gig at Bank of Mythical Pre-Crisis Era Bonuses. Alternatively, Gorman is happy to discuss a compensation plan in which you'll be awarded shares of his foot in your ass, which vest immediately. In the latest sign of the pressure Wall Street is under to cut costs and address high pay levels, James Gorman, chief executive, said that staff and remuneration would have to be sacrificed as banks cope with lower profits. “There’s way too much capacity and compensation is way too high,” Mr Gorman said in an interview with the Financial Times. “As a shareholder I’m sort of sympathetic to the shareholder view that the industry is still overpaid.” Morgan Stanley itself is already axing 4,000 jobs, 7 per cent of its workforce, by the end of this year. In the new year, Mr Gorman said, the bank will consider its next round of cost-cutting, including lower pay and bonuses. News of further pay cuts, including potentially for new entrants at the investment bank, comes just weeks after Goldman Sachs confirmed it was overhauling its well-known entry-level programme for analysts. Goldman was said to have tired of the number of analysts in the programme who left the bank for hedge funds. Mr Gorman said that Morgan Stanley will probably keep its own analyst programme, but pay could be reduced significantly. Morgan Stanley Chief Warns On Wall Street Pay [FT] Earlier: James Gorman To Employees: STFU Or GTFO

Morgan Stanley 'Rainmakers' Might Quit Because Their Computers Don't Work

They're not there yet, however; first, they're going to send James Gorman a strongly worded letter and make a decision based on his response. They do sound pretty miffed though, so God help the guy if his answer is anything but "I've got my tool kit and I'm on the way over." Several dozen Morgan Stanley Smith Barney advisers who manage tens of billions of dollars of client money are considering leaving the firm, saying that widespread technology problems have made it very difficult for them to do their jobs, according to people familiar with the matter. The group has hired a lawyer to argue that they should be able to keep lucrative retention payments even if they quit, and they have also drafted a letter to Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman outlining their concerns, though the letter has not yet been sent, the sources said. Rebecca Rothstein, one of the firm's top advisers based in Beverly Hills, spoke to him on the group's behalf, two sources familiar with the conversation said. Rothstein, who is close to Gorman and not part of the group, told him about the difficulties advisers and their clients are having - from trading delays and problems with foreign currency transactions to inaccurate account statements and bounced checks - and warned the group was planning to quit, one of the sources said...Morgan Stanley spokesman James Wiggins said the firm was aware that brokers have been voicing complaints about the new technology, but did not know anything about this specific group of advisers. "No such letter has been sent to management and no mass exodus has been threatened," he said. "Management's door is always open to discuss with any concerns they may have." Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Rainmakers Consider Exit [Reuters]

Layoffs Watch '12: Morgan Stanley

The House of Gorman is said to be in the process of letting some employees down easy. Morgan Stanley will this week complete a round of job cuts that will ultimately lead to the company shedding 100 sales and trading staff, underscoring what is expected to prove a dismal second quarter for Wall Street banks. The cuts are across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, according to people familiar with the New York-based bank’s plans. The bank has so far laid off about two-thirds of its original 100-person target, leaving some 33 people to go this week. Morgan Stanle Said To Shed Staff As Deals Fall [FT]