Senior Morgan Stanley Broker in Virginia Leaves Amid Branch Manager Shuffle
(Updates with details from Morgan Stanley’s filing on broker’s dismissal in fourth paragraph.)
After 17 years with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, an Alexandria, Va.-based broker who was once the top producer in the city’s legacy Smith Barney branch has abruptly left the firm, according to several people at the branch.
Michael Kurka’ s exit, which coincides with but does not appear connected to a consolidation of the firm’s two Alexandria branches, was generating around $1.5 million in annual revenue at the approximately 20-broker branch on John Carlyle Street where he was based, according to two sources.
Kurka, whose BrokerCheck record says he has not registered with another firm since his Morgan Stanley registration ended on Oct. 3, could not be reached for comment. The sources said he left abruptly without explanation from himself or firm officials.
A U-5 filed with state securities regulators reports that he was discharged for “management loss of confidence related to sales practice concerns including delays in converting accounts to fee-based platforms.”
A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman confirmed Kurka’s departure but would not comment on the circumstances.
His clients are being assigned at a confusing time for the branch. A former Dean Witter Morgan Stanley office in Alexandria with about a dozen brokers is being absorbed into the larger John Carlyle Street branch, and the managers of each of the two branches have stepped down.
Powell Royall II, Kurka’s former producing manager, has become a full-time producer at the branch, the spokeswoman confirmed. David Bos, the former manager of Morgan Stanley’s King Street branch that will be folded into the larger branch in December, resigned on August 30 to join a Wells Fargo Advisors branch in nearby McLean, Va., according to his BrokerCheck record.
Bos, too, is working full-time as an advisor, according to his at Wells.
The changes come as major brokerage firms have altered compensation metrics and priorities for branch managers, who are being measured on underlying profitability of their branches rather than under former formulas that rewarded them for recruiting advisors and growing revenue. As part of the shift, firms have been gradually replacing managers with long years of field and recruiting experience with generally younger managers with different skills.
The new manager of the Alexandria branches, which are expected to be consolidated in December, is Joseph C. Gilbert. He has been registered with Morgan Stanley DW since joining the firm in mid-2002 in Atlanta, according to his BrokerCheck record, but has worked in recent years at its call center for less affluent clients in Tampa, Florida.
Gilbert, whose LinkedIn website said he had been based in Tampa since April 2011, did not return a call for comment.
Morgan Stanley, the biggest brokerage firm as measured by its almost 16,000 advisory force, has been consolidating branches since it began absorbing Smith Barney. It had 601 retail offices as of June 30, down from 958 when the then-joint venture between the two firms began in 2009.