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Harry Cassin
Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding
Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman
Senior Editor

Bill Steinman
Senior Editor

Richard L. Cassin
Editor at Large

Elizabeth K. Spahn
Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington
Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro
Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox
Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn
Contributing Editor

Bill Waite
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Russell A. Stamets
Contributing Editor

Richard Bistrong
Contributing Editor

Eric Carlson
Contributing Editor

This Morgan Stanley isn’t the Morgan Stanley you think it is

The UK Financial Conduct Authority issued a warning Monday about a cloned firm using Morgan Stanley’s name and London address to take money from victims.

The real firm is Morgan Stanley & Co Ltd.

The clone is using the real firm’s Canary Wharf address and even its “Firm reference number,” a unique registration number from the FCA for firms authorized to sell financial products in the UK.

But the cloned firm is using a different phone number and email addresses.

Details from the FCA are here.

Other cloned firms the FCA has warned about recently include:

  • a fake Piper Jaffray
  • a phony UBS Global Investment Management Ltd
  • a counterfeit Wheaton Capital Limited, and
  • a bogus Natix Bank.

The cloned firms often cold call people and convince them to set up and put money in “new accounts” or, if they coincidentally already have an account at the real firm, to buy stocks or make trades.

Any money sent to a clone soon disappears, as does the clone itself.

When callers from a clone are asked why their phone numbers and email addresses are different than those shown on the FCA’s Register, they say the Register is out of date.

“But this is unlikely as we update the Register each evening,” the FCA said.

Some clones copy entire websites of FCA-authorized firms, “making subtle changes such as to the phone number listed.”

The FCA said it has even seen fake versions of its own website and Register “that include the fraudsters’ contact details rather than those of the genuine, authorized firm.”

Some clones are used to gather people’s account numbers and other financial and personal details, which are then sold to other fraudsters.

The FCA has more information about clones and how to protect yourself against them here.


Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He’ll be the keynote speaker at the FCPA Blog NYC Conference 2016.

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1 Comment

  1. It is unfortunate the banks do not view the risk to their reputation as being important enough to be more aggressive in assisting the consumer address these types of problems. A Dutch subsidiary of a US money center bank was decidedly unhelpful when I tried to alert them of a variation of a scam this article identifies.

    These types of fraud combined with the different DOJ related actions and settlements should reveal a bigger problem with banking – unfortunately the executive teams and investors in the financial sector are more concerned with what Robert Service calls the "lure of the gold" than being proactively helpful. They and we pay the price for the trillions of illegal, illicit and corruption financial flows.

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