Another Graystone/Morgan Stanley Emigrant Goes Independent
Michael Holycross, who was abruptly discharged from Morgan Stanley’s Graystone Consulting unit in June after 23 years, has found a new home.
AndCo Consulting, an Orlando-based institutional advisory firm, on Tuesday said Holycross has joined its Southfield, Michigan, office, to work with public Taft-Hartley plans, endowments, foundations and corporate plans.
Graystone has been battling to retain business with Holycross’s clients almost since the day of his departure, according to minutes of pension fund boards and other sources. His former group, some of whom remain at Graystone, managed $3.7 billion for around 30 clients before his termination, according to AndCo’s announcement.
“I decided to join the AndCo team because I wanted to work for an independent firm that allowed me to focus on my clients without internal or external distractions,” Holycross, who had worked since 2000 from a Morgan Stanley office in Southfield, said in a prepared statement. He did not return a call for comment.
Morgan Stanley terminated Holycross for “concerns over adherence to firm sales guidelines,” according to the Central Registration Depository report that the firm filed with state securities regulators. The concerns did not involve sales practice violations, it said. The firm also dismissed five members of his team on June 1, but some were permitted to reapply for their jobs, one of Holycross’ partners still with Morgan Stanley told the Macomb County (Michigan) Employees Retirement Board, according to minutes of its June board meeting.
Holycross is the second large producer from Graystone to announce a new home in the past week.
Phil C. Shaffer in Columbus, Ohio, launched advisory firm Halite Partners at the beginning of August, according to registration records. A pioneer of the institutional management money consulting business that Morgan Stanley acquired with its purchase of Smith Barney, Shaffer had led a team of more than 20 people managing $3.8 billion in assets from his Graystone office before unexpectedly leaving the firm with a small crew in late June.
At AndCo., Holycross is reuniting with a former member of his Graystone team, Brian Green, according to a spokeswoman. Green had been with AndCo. since September 2015, according to LinkedIn.
Morgan Stanley has the incumbent advantage in servicing Graystone’s institutional clients and has been scurrying to reassure Holycross’s clients that it can support their needs. The Macomb County Employees Retirement Board, which has around $1 billion administered by Morgan Stanley, was in the process of soliciting proposals for contract renewals with advisors when Holycross was terminated and has postponed its renewal decision pending its review of the events.
“Mr. Holycross might still want the Board’s business and the Board may also want him to continue to be their representative,” Deputy Macomb County Executive Mark Deldin said at the June meeting, according to the minutes.