Craig Norton, Longtime Morgan Stanley Executive, Takes Raymond James Branch Post
Craig Norton, who spent his entire 23-year career at Morgan Stanley before abruptly stepping down as its Southeast regional manager and leaving the firm in February, has joined Raymond James Financial as a branch manager in Atlanta.
The move, which has not been announced and is not yet posted on the Financial Regulatory Authority’s BrokerCheck database, comes as Raymond James has been aggressively growing its branch network by presenting itself as a broker-friendly alternative to wirehouses.
Clients are closer to their advisors than to their firms, RayJay Chief Executive Paul Reilly said in a culturally subversive address at an industry conference earlier this month, and the firm supports even brokers who are quitting by facilitating account transfers.
Norton has created a wide network of broker relations since joining Morgan Stanley at a Florida branch after his graduation from Villanova University in 1992 and was a generally popular manager, said several brokers who worked with him. It is unclear how much recruiting responsibility he will have as a manager of one of three branches that Raymond James operates in Atlanta.
Norton’s departure from Morgan Stanley raised eyebrows because of his powerful position—he was one of eight regional managers—and also because it occurred weeks after he suddenly took a leave of absence from his Atlanta-based post in December.
Several sources said this week and at the time that a lower-level employee is believed to have reported advances Norton allegedly made to her.
Reached Wednesday at his branch on 3050 Peachtree Road, Norton declined comment on his plans and on his departure, referring calls to company spokespeople.
Raymond James spokeswoman Anthea Penrose confirmed Norton’s new position but declined further comment. A spokesman at Morgan Stanley said only that Norton is no longer an employee. The company named Timothy Byrnes to replace Norton as regional head in February.
One affinity that Norton has with Saint Petersburg, Florida-based Raymond James, is athletics. He was a member of the Orange Bowl committee when he lived in Florida, according to the bowl’s website, and sources said he actively supports activities at Villanova, the winner of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Raymond James is the naming sponsor of the Florida stadium that is home to the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and to the NCAA’s South Florida Bulls football team.