M&S represents a class of female Financial Advisors and Registered Advisor Trainees who were employed by Morgan Stanley in their Global Wealth Management Group. The focus of the lawsuit was gender inequality in the business practices of Morgan Stanley, which was evident in the inequitable distribution of accounts and other opportunities for female employees.
The named plaintiffs, eight women from five states, on behalf of themselves and a class of about 2,700 fellow female Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors, filed an amended complaint alleging discrimination on April 24, 2007. These women took a critical step in the fight for improved working conditions for women across the financial services sector.
On October 26, 2007, Judge Richard Roberts, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, approved a settlement with Morgan Stanley & Co. Incorporated f/k/a Morgan Stanley DW Inc., on behalf of approximately 2,700 female Financial Advisors and Registered Financial Advisor Trainees employed at Morgan Stanley at any time since August 5, 2003.
The settlement contains programmatic relief – or changes to policies and practices – to help prevent discrimination against female financial advisors in the future. When Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney merged, the programmatic relief in this settlement was combined with the programmatic relief in a related case against Smith Barney. M&S is continuing to monitor the company’s compliance with its obligations to improve its policies and practices.