Morgan Stanley Branch Managers Leave, Willingly and Not, in NYC Region
A pair of Morgan Stanley branch managers in New York City and its suburbs have left the firm, intensifying a wave of involuntary and voluntary defections at the increasingly challenging management level.
Justin Ferdula, who was manager of Morgan Stanley’s Rockefeller Center branch in Manhattan, resigned on Monday to join RBC Wealth Management. RBC’s U.S. wealth business is run by Michael Armstrong, a former head of Morgan Stanley’s private wealth group, a spokeswoman confirmed.
Ferdula began his career with Smith Barney in Clearwater, Fla., as a marketing associate and has been a broker there and with Morgan Stanley, which purchased Smith Barney, since 2002. He also worked in national training and as a complex business development officer over his 13-year career, according to a profile posted on his former Morgan Stanley website.
Ferdula’s role at RBC will be announced in the near future, an RBC spokeswoman said.
Jeffrey Crystal, who had been with Morgan Stanley since 1999, was “permitted to resign” from his Paramus, NJ branch on May 1, according to his Financial Industry Regulatory Authority BrokerCheck report.
Crystal appears to have taken the heat over the February arrest of Barry F. Connell, a broker in his office who allegedly stole $5 million from clients through wire transfers out of their accounts. Morgan Stanley and Crystal “mutually agreed” to the manager’s departure even though the firm “does not believe that Mr. Crystal was aware of the financial advisor’s misconduct,” according to a notation on his BrokerCheck report.
The activity highlights the increasing precariousness of working in branch management at a time when regulatory oversight is increasing and traditional compensation structures built on aggressive recruiting are changing, said veteran managers and recruiters.
Crystal, according to sources, had reported to higher-ups that Connell had been absent from the office for a suspiciously lengthy period, but appears to have falling into a failure-to-supervise hole that could still hang over the firm, according to people familiar with his situation.
A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman declined to comment or to discuss whether successors for Ferdula and Crystal have been named.
The back-to-back departures of the managers follow the abrupt exit in March of David Turetzky, who ran another midtown Manhattan branch. He was let go after 17 years because of disagreements over hires that didn’t work out, according to sources who declined to elaborate. Morgan Stanley appointed 32-year-old Dwayne Barberis, who had been an associate complex manager, to replace Turetzky.
The company spokeswoman would not comment on Turetzky, who is still registered with Morgan Stanley, according to his BrokerCheck record.
Robert Peyreigne, a complex manager in charge of four branches in New York City and Westchester, left in November to become head of Jefferies Group’s wealth management business. Peyreigne had been with Morgan Stanley for about ten years, according to the BrokerCheck database.