Ami Forte Resurfaces at New Firm as Morgan Stanley Battle Wages
Almost two years after her dismissal from Morgan Stanley following a $34.4 million arbitration loss, Ami Forte has found a new home.
The former “top-ranked woman broker,” who is embroiled with Morgan Stanley in a dispute over liability for the award and her claims for back pay, has joined broker-dealer Pinnacle Investments LLC as an advisor and as a “chief business development officer” for its expansion into Florida, the Syracuse, New York-based firm said on Tuesday.
“We are thrilled to have a top industry advisor like Ami join our team,” Ryan York, CEO of Pinnacle, said in a prepared statement. “Having previously worked at several global firms, she brings additional high‐level experience that will contribute to our growth strategy by providing sound, knowledgeable and tailored financial advice to clients in the Tampa area and beyond.”
Forte has filed a wrongful termination arbitration claim against Morgan Stanley and is battling its counter-claim for the multi-million-dollar award that was decided jointly and severally against her, the firm and her former branch manager. The money was paid to the widow and estate of Roy Speer, a co-founder of Home Shopping Network, which accused her of churning and elder abuse.
Forte, who worked for 15 years at Morgan Stanley and also did stints at Smith Barney and the broker-dealer arms of Barnett Bank and Bank of America, also is gearing up for a regulatory battle. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in January sent a Wells notice warning her to expect disciplinary action tied to allegations of excessive or unsuitable trading.
Her lawyer, Robert Pearl, said last month that there is “no merit” to the allegations Finra is suggesting.
Pinnacle said that Forte has “demonstrated an unwavering commitment” to her clients’ best interests.
“As is our policy with any potential new hire, we conducted extensive due diligence and found that Ami’s professional track record and dedication to clients and her community were a perfect match for Pinnacle’s service‐focused culture,” Elizabeth Bartlett, Pinnacle Holding Company’s chief business development officer, said in a press release.
The Tampa office will be Pinnacle’s ninth. The firm, which also operates as a registered investment advisor, has 30 advisors spread across six offices in New York State, one in Mansfield, Mass. and one in Philadelphia, according to its website.