Morgan Stanley may face a fine of more than $10 million for failing to archive a number of e-mails needed in connection with Securities and Exchange Commission investigations. Published reports said that a final decision on any penalty is likely still months away.

Morgan Stanley has said that the documentation problems happened under the watch of former chief executive Philip Purcell, who stepped down in June, and is hoping any fine is under $5 million.

The firm has said that it is working to overhaul the technical systems it has in place to ensure communications are not destroyed or overwritten in the future. But the SEC already fined the company in 2002 along with a handful of other financial institutions, and ordered then to do a better job handling electronic documents. And Morgan Stanley is still appealing a March order to pay financier Ron Perelman $1.5 billion after it was unable to produce documents in an investment lawsuit.

Sarbanes-Oxley mandates internal controls to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the reported information, but, unlike SEC regulations, it does not specifically mandate e-mail archiving.

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