The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has fined Morgan Stanley $5 million over the botched Facebook initial public offering, according to terms of a consent order. In case you're wondering, that's about half the bonus of a starting secretary at the investment house. OK, we're exaggerating for effect, but this is the textbook definition of a slap on the wrist for Morgan, which last year posted $32.4 billion in revenue.
Morgan, the lead underwriter in Facebook's IPO this past spring, has faced criticism from Facebook shareholders who claimed that certain material information was concealed prior to the highly anticipated offering. Recriminations mushroomed as Facebook's stock price dropped soon after its opening. Within weeks, investors had knocked $40 billion off the value of the company. The stock has recovered some ground since then but remains far below its opening day high of $45.
In releasing the text of the consent order, the state's top securities regulator, William Galvin, said that Morgan had engaged in dishonest and unethical practices. In signing onto the consent decree, Morgan neither admitted nor denied the statement of facts in the text. The same went for the violations of law outlined in the decree.
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