New York Appellate Court Allows Fraud Claim to Proceed Against Morgan Stanley

On August 11, 2016, the First Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York affirmed a trial court ruling that investor-plaintiff IKB International to proceed with claims that RMBS sponsor and underwriter Morgan Stanley knowingly misrepresented loans’ credit quality and characteristics. The Court affirmed a ruling that justifiable reliance was adequately pleaded as the complaint contained allegations that (i) plaintiffs hired investment advisors to analyze the offering documents for the 18 RMBS deals at issue; and (ii) plaintiffs lacked the access to (and the ability to demand) loan files prior to purchase.

Additionally, the Court agreed that the plaintiffs adequately pleaded the fraud element of scienter by alleging that Morgan Stanly learned about the loans’ defects during the course of its own due diligence reviews, and in its role as underwriter. Order.

MSRB Proposal to Prohibit Dealers from Acting as Financial Advisors and Underwriters

On February 9, the MSRB filed with the SEC a proposed rule change to prohibit a broker, dealer, or municipal securities dealer from acting both as a financial advisor to an issuer of municipal securities and as an underwriter for the same new issue of municipal securities. MSRB Release. MSRB Notice.

MSRB Request For Comment on Underwriting Activities of Financial Advisors

On August 17, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board issued a request for comment on draft amendments to Rule G-23, which would prohibit any broker, deal or municipal securities dealer acting as a financial advisor to an issuer in connection with a new issue of municipal securities from also acting as underwriter for such issuance.  The MSRB has included a list of topics on which comments are sought.  Comments are requested no later than September 30. MSRB Request for Comment