Morgan Stanley
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Morgan Stanley headquarters in New York City.
Morgan Stanley Smith Barney has accepted a $13 million penalty to settle charges that it overcharged more than 149,000 clients during a 14-year period ending in 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced in a press release on Friday.

"Investors must be able to trust that their investment advisers have put appropriate safeguards in place to ensure accurate billing," SEC New York Regional Office Director Andrew Calamari said.

The lack of safeguards resulted in 36 different types of billing errors that overcharged customers, Calamari noted.

Morgan Stanley also failed to comply with rules requiring annual surprise examinations by an independent public accountant, the release explained. The company has reimbursed its customers for the billing errors, which began in 2002 and ended last year, the release added.