Morgan Stanley Faces $5 Million Claim from NBA Star Chandler Parsons
Professional basketball player Chandler Parsons has brought a claim for $5 million in damages against Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, according to regulatory records for a veteran broker in Westlake Village, California.
Cohen was not named as a respondent in the complaint, but it must still be listed on his record because he is the customer’s broker under Finra rules, according to a person familiar with the case.
Parsons, who is listed as the claimant along with related entities as well as his one-time roommate and fellow National Basketball Association player Courtney Lee, alleged that between 2017 and 2019 “payments were made without prior approval” from their accounts. They also claimed that they were encouraged to take out a “liquidity access line” for real estate and life insurance policies for which they “now claim they hold no interest.”
Cohen, who joined Morgan Stanley in 2015 from Wells Fargo Advisors, did not return a call for comment. His team, which includes his father, Marc, and another advisor, manages $656 million in client assets with a minimum account size of $1 million, according to Forbes, which ranked Marc #56 on its list of best advisors in California in 2021.
A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley declined to comment.
Cohen, who earned Morgan Stanley’s top corporate title of managing director in 2019, is part of the firm’s Global Sports and Entertainment Group, according to their team web page and Facebook page. The segment includes around 95 advisors who draw a significant portion of their revenue from athletes and entertainers with large but sometimes short-lived income streams.
Their wealth makes them alluring clients but athletes and entertainers can come with additional challenges, including a disproportionately high number of fraud claims against their advisors, experts say.
Parsons, who started his professional basketball career with the Houston Rockets in 2011, earned a $94 million contract to play for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2016. He was traded to the Atlanta Hawks in 2019 but was waived last year after he was injured in a car crash caused by a drunk driver, and has been a free agent.
Cohen was involved in another complaint from former Major League Baseball outfielder Nyjer Morgan, according to a separate listing on his CRD report. He was similarly not named as a respondent in the complaint, which was made against Morgan Stanley.
Morgan, who filed his claim in Finra arbitration in May, made similar claims of unsuitability related to “the use of [a] liquidity access line to loan funds to outside business entities” between 2015 and 2020, according to the CRD report.
His claim does not specify damages. Morgan’s lawyer, Chase Carlson in Miami, declined to comment beyond the filing.
Cohen, who started his career at Merrill Lynch in 1997, has four other complaints listed on his BrokerCheck record that arose between 2001 and 2011. Two in 2009 and 2011 closed with no action or were denied. One for unsuitable trading in 2001 settled for $81,851 of the $96,000 requested. Another in 2010 for claims that there was an “unauthorized journal transfer” from his account to another customer of the broker settled for $16,500, beyond the $10,000 in damages sought.
Cohen left Merrill in 2003 to join Wells Fargo Advisors, according to BrokerCheck. When he left Wells, the firm reported that he was under investigation for documents in client files that included names and passwords for non-firm bills and a schedule of when bills were to be paid.
Wells said it closed its investigation after Cohen resigned and found no evidence of customer harm.
Marc Cohen’s BrokerCheck record shows two client complaints, which occurred in 1999 and 2007 and were both denied, over his 48-year career.