Morgan Stanley says ex-employee stole client data to sell to highest bidder

Morgan Stanley building

A Morgan Stanley employee stole the account numbers of 900 wealth-management clients in what sources believe was an attempt to sell the information to the highest bidder.

Morgan Stanley said the employee has been fired and “the Firm is taking the precaution of notifying all potentially affected clients and instituting enhanced security procedures including fraud monitoring on these accounts”, according to a statement. 

Morgan Stanley’s wealth-management division invests money on behalf of high-net-worth individuals, who traditionally have at least over $1m in assets. The division, which merged with Salomon Smith Barney several years ago, controls $2trn in client money.

The unidentified employee stole partial information of 350,000 clients, including names, telephone numbers, states of residence and some financial transaction data, according to a source familiar with the theft. The ex-employee then posted the information of 900 clients on an “obscure” website.

Investigators and the firm are working under the theory that the ex-employee planned to sell the data and was using the 900 clients as a lure. The data received “virtually no hits” except for those of Morgan Stanley and its investigators, a source said.

The theft did not include social security numbers and passwords, said a source familiar with the firm.

Morgan Stanley discovered the theft on 27 December and pulled the information down shortly after that. The incident is coming to light now as Morgan Stanley contacts the clients. For the 900 whose information was posted, Morgan Stanley will change their account numbers.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and other authorities are investigating the theft, the source told the Guardian.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Heidi Moore in New York, for theguardian.com on Monday 5th January 2015 18.25 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

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