For a decade former NFL head coach, Herman Edwards, held a rookie symposium that espoused the dangers of the language and context of social media for athletes. His refrain rang true, “Don’t Press Send”, and seriously consider your image and the ramifications of a poorly worded post.
It seems that compliance departments, and now state regulators, feel the same way. A 33 year veteran of the industry and former Morgan Stanley broker took a hit for sending an inappropriate email.
Via media reports: “Massachusetts’ Securities Division imposed three years of heightened supervision on Joseph DeNicola, a 33-year industry veteran who was fired by Morgan Stanley in April over ‘concerns’ about an email DeNicola sent to co-workers, according to a consent order agreed to by the state, the broker and his new firm, Boston-based firm Moors & Cabot.”
“The order notes that the email was not investment or client related, but does not provide additional detail. A Morgan Stanley source said it may have included insensitive or politically incorrect allusions.”
Watch what you think, what you say, what you send, who you talk to, and where you spend your time. The list of parties searching for your latest misstep are lined up: state regulators, firm compliance, client/plaintiff lawyers, FINRA, the NASD, the SEC, the US Justice Department, just to name a few.
It isn’t news that the ‘Mad Men’ era of office banter and loose politics is long gone. The news remains that the pendulum has dramatically swung in the other direction. It is not hyperbole to claim that you have a target on your back.
And if you think the firm you’ve been loyal to through their ‘worst of times’ (read: the financial crisis and any and all self-harm they’ve levied on themselves) is going to take a stand and have your back, think again.
This article and the enforcement action mentioned above is another reason to keep legal counsel on retainer. A retained and instantly available to you securities lawyer.
As of 2020 if you haven’t taken that step you are operating under the auspices of 1999 thinking. The game has changed. Lawyer up.