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Monday, August 25, 2014

SEC, NY broker face off over scheme to profit from terminally ill, (NYSE: MS)

A New York broker went on trial on Monday over a U.S. securities regulator's claims he participated in a scheme designed by a Morgan Stanley employee to profit from the death of terminally ill patients through variable annuity sales. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission called its first witnesses in an administrative proceeding in New York against Moshe Marc Cohen, a former Woodbury Financial Services broker who the agency said deceived the firm to obtain approval to sell the annuities.Variable annuities are investment vehicles designed to help retirees maintain a source of income, with insurers typically agreeing to make periodic payments to purchasers.The annuities also include a death benefit, in which insurers pay the policyholder's beneficiary under certain conditions.The SEC, which initiated the case in March, said that feature was at the heart of a scheme developed by Michael Horowitz, a Los Angeles broker then with Morgan Stanley who advised investors on buying the variable annuities.

Morgan Stanley is a global financial services company that, through its subsidiaries and affiliates, provides its products and services to a range of clients and customers, including corporations, governments, financial institutions and individuals. Shares of MS traded higher by 2.18% or $0.73/share to $34.20. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $25.25 and as high as $33.60. On average, 8318110 shares of MS exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 13793238.