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May 29, 2012

Citi seeks its next act in wealth management

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As Citigroup (C.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) prepares to exit its ownership in brokerage giant Smith Barney, the bank is on a hiring spree to build what it hopes will become a significant U.S. wealth management business centered around its high-end Citigold account.

The bank plans to hire 300 more personal bankers and brokers in the next two years, with a goal of reaching about 800 by 2014, Citigold Wealth Management President Venu Krishnamurthy told Reuters.

May 25, 2012

Exclusive: Merrill misstep may hurt battle vs. broker claims

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Merrill Lynch’s battle to void a $10 million arbitration ruling suffered a setback this week after a new court filing raised questions about its claims that a panel member had not disclosed her potential conflicts.

The brokerage giant, which Bank of America (BAC.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) agreed to acquire in 2008, is challenging an April 3 arbitration ruling that awarded two brokers, Tamara Smolchek and Meri Ramazio, more than $10 million in damages stemming from unpaid compensation claims. But now, one of its key arguments in a high profile case that could affect hundreds of ex-Merrill brokers – that the arbitration panel’s chairwoman was biased – may fail because of the firm’s own revelations.

May 25, 2012

Merrill misstep may hurt battle vs broker claims

NEW YORK, May 25 (Reuters) – Merrill Lynch’s battle to void
a $10 million arbitration ruling suffered a setback this week
after a new court filing raised questions about its claims that
a panel member had not disclosed her potential conflicts.

The brokerage giant, which Bank of America (BAC.N: Quote, Profile, Research) agreed to
acquire in 2008, is challenging an April 3 arbitration ruling
that awarded two brokers, Tamara Smolchek and Meri Ramazio, more
than $10 million in damages stemming from unpaid compensation
claims. [ID:nL2E8F48VM] But now, one of its key arguments in a
high profile case that could affect hundreds of ex-Merrill
brokers – that the arbitration panel’s chairwoman was biased -
may fail because of the firm’s own revelations.

May 25, 2012

Morgan Stanley adjusting some Facebook trades

May 24 (Reuters) – Morgan Stanley will adjust
thousands of trades to ensure outstanding limit orders to sell
will be filled at no more than $42.99 a share for Facebook
stock from last Friday’s botched initial public offering,
the firm told its brokers on Thursday, according to several who
listened to the call.

Morgan Stanley said that limit orders to sell shares at $43
or higher that have not yet been processed because of glitches
at Nasdaq will be settled over the next few days at
less than $43. Fewer than one million shares traded in a
two-minute period on the opening day above $43. Shares reached a
high of $45.

May 23, 2012

Morgan Stanley to adjust prices on Facebook trades

NEW YORK, May 23 (Reuters) – Morgan Stanley told
brokers on Wednesday it is reviewing every Facebook Inc
trade and will make price adjustments for retail customers who
paid too much during the social network company’s debut last
week, according to an internal memo.

Morgan Stanley, the lead underwriter of Facebook’s initial
public offering on Friday, in the memo also said “many” of the
first-day trades have now been processed and are appearing in
client accounts. The company did not specify how much it
expected to pay in total price adjustments.

May 21, 2012

FINRA panel orders Advanced Equities to pay $4.5 mln

NEW YORK, May 21 (Reuters) – A Financial Industry Regulatory
Authority arbitration panel ordered investment banking boutique
Advanced Equities Inc to pay $4.5 million in damages and other
costs stemming from a breach-of-contract claims filed by a
former employee, John Galinsky.

The ruling was made public on Monday.

Galinsky in January 2010 asked arbitrators for $100 million
in actual damages and $40 million in punitive damages over what
he said was the firm’s failure to pay certain commissions for
his efforts raising capital for clients such as Arbinet, Bloom
Energy, Force10 Networks, Infinera Corp,
Motricity Inc and Peregrine Semiconductor.

May 18, 2012

Insight – Who got Facebook IPO shares? Fairness may not come into it

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A lot of loyal Facebook fans and occasional investors are discovering a hard truth this week: Money and connections talk, especially when it comes to a hot deal handled by Wall Street.

The scramble for shares in what is one of largest initial public offerings in U.S. history quickly divided the haves from the have-nots on Thursday. Those with big brokerage accounts and a long history as customers of Wall Street firms likely got at least part of their orders for Facebook shares filled, but would-be buyers who had no such ties were lucky to get any.

May 17, 2012

Insight: Who got Facebook shares? Fairness may not come into it

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A lot of loyal Facebook fans and occasional investors are discovering a hard truth this week: Money and connections talk, especially when it comes to a deal handled by Wall Street.

The scramble for shares in what is one of largest initial public offerings in U.S. history quickly divided the haves from the have-nots on Thursday. Those with big brokerage accounts and a long history as customers of Wall Street firms likely got at least part of their orders for Facebook shares filled, but would-be buyers who had no such ties were lucky to get any.

May 17, 2012

Who got Facebook shares? Fairness may not come into it

NEW YORK, May 17 (Reuters) – A lot of loyal Facebook fans
and occasional investors are discovering a hard truth this week:
Money and connections talk, especially when it comes to a deal
handled by Wall Street.

The scramble for shares in what is one of largest initial
public offerings in U.S. history quickly divided the haves from
the have-nots on Thursday. Those with big brokerage accounts and
a long history as customers of Wall Street firms likely got at
least part of their orders for Facebook shares filled, but
would-be buyers who had no such ties were lucky to get any.

May 10, 2012

Broker LPL venturing into little-loved mass market

NEW YORK, May 10 (Reuters) – LPL Investment Holdings
, the largest U.S. independent brokerage, said it will
launch an investment advisory business it hopes will capture
some of wealth spread out among millions of middle class
Americans.

LPL’s new venture is in the early stages of development, but
the Boston-based company says it will hire and train a network
of self-employed advisers to offer investment advice to mass
market consumers, defined by Cerulli Associates as those with
less than $100,000 to invest.