Morgan Stanley is facing a lawsuit from one of its former financial advisors accusing the firm of allowing a sexist working environment that derailed her career at the wirehouse.
Kelley McGoldrick — who was at Morgan Stanley from 2012 to 2017, according to BrokerCheck — claims the wirehouse’s “sexist culture and conduct, which deliberately deprived her of income and made her working conditions intolerable, forced her to resign,” according to a suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Boston Division.
McGoldrick’s suit claims she started generating revenue while enrolled in the firm’s Financial Advisor Associate program, which “put her on an accelerated path within the Program,” when she’d already gathered $5 million in assets under management.
But “McGoldrick ran headlong into a sexist culture” right at the start of her career at the wirehouse, according to the suit.
“Morgan Stanley’s corporate culture dictates a narrow role for women: supporting men as sexual props to attract male clients or as administrative support for high-producing men,” the suit says. “The only business development responsibility Defendant wanted Ms. McGoldrick to have was to attract male clients using her looks and to attract female divorcees using infantilizing business tactics. She refused to accept these limited roles.”
McGoldrick claims the wirehouse allowed her male colleagues to poach clients that she had brought in, didn’t pay her fairly and deprived her of professional opportunities. She further claims that because she complained about the sexism at the firm, she was told there was no place for her, resulting in her “constructive discharge.”
“Ms. McGoldrick refused to play the role of sex-prop, angering her male peers and supervisors, and earning her the reputation as someone who refused to play by the rules. Her refusal to play the role earned her the enmity of the male producers whose support she required to succeed. Her male colleagues called her ‘Gorgeous’ and ‘Babe,’ and suggested that she was only successful because male clients found her attractive and ‘wanted a piece,'” according to the suit.
Morgan Stanley’s response
FA-IQ reached out to the wirehouse for comment for this article, and a spokeswoman provided this statement: “Morgan Stanley is fully committed to equal employment opportunity, and is proud of the fact that its training program for new financial advisors is approximately 50% diverse. The plaintiff left that program voluntarily in 2017 to join a competitor without ever reporting under Firm policy the dated claims she has now filed in litigation. We intend to defend the matter vigorously.”
McGoldrick is seeking a jury trial.
In February 2018, McGoldrick filed a discrimination charge with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the lawsuit says. She received her right to sue letter in February this year, according to her suit.
McGoldrick began her financial services industry career in 2011 at Altrushare Securities and three months later moved to Ameriprise, where she stayed for around nine months before joining Morgan Stanley in 2012, according to her BrokerCheck record. After leaving Morgan Stanley in 2017, McGoldrick joined Commonwealth Financial Network, where she remains registered, according to her profile.
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