Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s investigation into suspected abusers of « inherited accounts » which resulted in at least ten advisors being purged in mid-November has claimed another heir.
Michael Witt, who had spent his entire 20-year brokerage career at Morgan Stanley, was fired on Jan. 7 for “filing transactions under production numbers that were inconsistent with the agreement with other agents, resulting in a lack of credited revenue led other representatives ”, so his BrokerCheck report.
According to sources, the allegations relate to Morgan Stanley’s Former Advisor Program (FAP). Consultants who “sell” their client ledgers to a colleague will receive a percentage of the payout in their accounts for up to five years after their retirement. Morgan Stanley and other large corporations have promoted such « sunsetting » programs to discourage seasoned consultants from taking their clients to other companies.
Witt, who was based in Dallas, Texas, joined Ameriprise Financial Services’ Employee Channel in nearby Plano last week. Once there, he declined to comment on the Ameriprise policy.
An Ameriprise spokeswoman confirmed Witt’s hiring, saying he had approximately $ 150 million in client assets under management but declined to comment on Morgan Stanley’s U5 announcement, which is summarized in his BrokerCheck report.
In November, Morgan Stanley fired agents in Florida, California, and other states following internal investigations that were sparked by complaints from retirees in the FAP, according to insiders.
Morgan Stanley tweaked the program two years ago to make it more palatable to advisors’ inheritance by subsidizing part of the payout split they gave up. It also boosts the program by pre-enrolling top advisors well in advance of their retirement with a formula that will earn them up to 80% of the payout on their first retirement.
Witt spent much of his career in sales management roles at Morgan Stanley, but switched to full-time advisor about two years ago after a reorganization of Dallas management, said a former advisor to the complex.
A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman did not return a request for comment on Witt’s departure and career history, as well as the status of the FAP review.
In their defense, some brokers, who are alleged to have withheld credit from retired advisors by using only their own production numbers, said they had been instructed to play the system by their direct managers, or they said they had Representing attorneys simply made mistakes on filing.
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