A couple of weeks ago, it emerged that the Securities and Exchange Commission had turned its ever-eager eye to block trading, and whether that common and lucrative Wall Street practice was little more than an opportunity for the well connected to insider-trade. Specifically, those well-connected to Morgan Stanley’s equity syndicate desk.
Given the potential implications, this seemed like pretty big news. But it was not news to Morgan Stanley.
In its annual report, Morgan Stanley said that it has been responding to requests for information from the Securities and Exchange Commission “in connection with an investigation of various aspects of the firm’s block trading business”, beginning in June 2019.
Huh, isn’t that the kind of thing that a publicly-traded company perhaps might have been expected to disclose, oh, we don’t know, in 2019?
A Morgan Stanley spokesperson declined to comment on why the bank was disclosing the inquiries now.
And, in fairness to the House of Gorman, there is some news in the matter, relatively speaking.
Since August 2021, Morgan Stanley said it has also fielded requests for information from the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York regarding an investigation into block trades, a way to sell bulk volumes of stock.
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