Morgan Stanley CEO Gorman defends Facebook IPO conduct

Thu May 31, 2012 6:20pm EDT

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(Reuters) - Morgan Stanley chairman and chief executive officer James Gorman defended the securities firm's role in Facebook Inc's tumultuous initial public offering, telling CNBC on Thursday the firm followed standard procedures.

Gorman said there was "no nefarious activity" surrounding the social networking company's IPO and speculation of such behavior is untrue. He added that regulatory scrutiny is welcomed as the Facebook IPO attracted "tons" of attention.

Gorman said investors who were counting on a big first-day surge in Facebook's stock price of $38 a share should not be placing blame on Morgan Stanley or others.

"I'd like to think that firstly the group of people who thought they were buying the stock so they could get an enormous pop were both naive and bought it under the wrong pretenses," he said. "What any company is doing when you are taking companies public is to establish a long-term investor base. So to that individual, I would hope that they haven't panicked during the flurry over the last few days."

Since the May 18 IPO, Facebook shares have fallen more than 25 percent to $29.60. Additionally, on the day of its market debut, trading glitches by the Nasdaq OMX Group Inc's Nasdaq Stock Market, postponed the start of trading in Facebook by 30 minutes. Once trading began, many investors were unable to confirm their trades.

"Give this a little bit of time....we're only on day 8 here," Gorman added about the rocky performance of Facebook shares.

Gorman added that ample disclosure was provided to Facebook investors. When asked by CNBC if certain clients received more information than others, Gorman said, "absolutely not".

Gorman added that new technology firms looking to tap Morgan Stanley as an underwriter to go public won't be turned off following the Facebook IPO. "We have a long track record" with bringing companies public, Gorman said.

(Reporting By Jennifer Ablan; Editing by Gary Hill and Carol Bishopric)

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