* OK, I got a little chuckle out of a recent Investment News story. Who knows, maybe there’s something to it. I really doubt it, though.
The story goes that Vincent Romano was a broker at Morgan Stanley. He decided to run against Rep. Lou Lang as a Republican back in 2012. He was fired in May and Romano asked for damages…
“[Morgan Stanley] feared a loss of business with the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois because [Morgan Stanley Smith Barney] has a relationship with House Speaker Michael Madigan, and Romano was running on a reform platform that could upset Michael Madigan’s political power,” Mr. Romano argued
Upset Madigan’s political power? Hardly. Romano spent less than $29K in the final quarter and was thoroughly thumped 68-32 by Lang.
* But this comment went into Romano’s permanent record…
There were “concerns about [the] financial adviser running for elected political office, despite not having received prior firm approval for same, as required by firm policy,” the firm wrote on his U5, which is publicly available through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.’s BrokerCheck database.
Romano claimed that he was initially given permission to run.
* And he won his case, but didn’t get nearly the $8 million he’d demanded…
In the end, the arbitration panel awarded $475,000 in compensatory damages and $50,000 in punitive damages.
It also ordered that the language on Mr. Romano’s termination form be altered to read that he was fired because of “concerns about the financial adviser running for elected political office, despite not having received prior firm approval for same, due to a misunderstanding between the firm and the financial adviser. The terminated employee violated no investment-related statutes, regulations or rules.”
Mr. Romano said that he would have liked the award to have been more substantial, but he applauded the panel’s decision to award punitive damages, though he characterized the amount as a “slap on the wrist.”
Morgan Stanley said that it regretted the award and denied any wrongdoing, pointing to the arbitrators’ characterization of the disagreement as a “misunderstanding.”
By the way, Romano circulated petitions to run against Lang again this year, but was removed from the ballot on Tuesday.
According to the Investment News story, Romano is “working on a business venture in firearms manufacturing,” which probably wouldn’t go over too well with Skokie-area voters anyway.
[Hat tip: IR]