Morgan Stanley: 9/11 Ate My Emails

The National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) isn’t happy with Morgan Stanley’s excuse — 9/11 ate my emails — in some arbitration cases:

NASD announced today that it has charged Morgan Stanley DW, Inc. with routinely failing to provide emails to claimants in arbitration proceedings as well as to regulators – and with falsely claiming that millions of emails it possessed had been lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, where its email servers were housed.

In its complaint, NASD alleges that Morgan Stanley failed to provide pre-September 11 emails to arbitration claimants and regulators in numerous proceedings from October 2001 through March 2005. NASD also charged that Morgan Stanley falsely claimed in many of those proceedings that such email had been destroyed. In fact, according to the complaint, Morgan Stanley possessed millions of pre-September 11 emails that had been restored to its system shortly after September 11 using back-up tapes. Many other emails were maintained on individual users’ computers and were therefore never affected by the attacks, yet Morgan Stanley often failed to search those computers when responding to requests.

NASD also charged that Morgan Stanley later destroyed many of the emails it did possess, in two ways – by overwriting backup tapes that had been used to restore the emails to the firm’s system and by allowing users of the firm’s email system to permanently delete the emails over an extended period of time. As a result, the complaint alleges that between September 2001 and March 2005, millions of the emails were destroyed.