Ex-Morgan Stanley Manager Ben Fujihara Joins Texas RIA
Ben Fujihara, a complex manager in Dallas who worked at Morgan Stanley for almost 21 years before his forced resignation last year, has found a new home with an advisory firm run by Ed Butowsky, another controversial Morgan Stanley alumnus.
Butowsky, whose Plano-based Chapwood Investments manages around $194 million in client assets, according to its ADV, has spent the past two years fighting news reports and a lawsuit accusing him of peddling a fake news story on Fox News aimed at supporting President Donald Trump.
Fujihara joined his former colleague on Tuesday as co-founder and managing partner of Chapwood Independent Advisory Group, a unit of the 13-year-old firm that was “established to assist, advise and provide the infrastructure required to successfully transition to an Independent RIA platform,” according to his LinkedIn profile. It also offers “access to a full-service broker dealer,” it says, without providing specifics.
Fujihara, who describes himself in his profile as experienced in “transitioning over 100 successful advisor practices exceeding $14 billion in client assets under administration,” did not return a call for comment.
Butowsky declined to comment, other than to say that he has known Fujihara for 25 years and that his colleague is “starting a new career.”
Fujihara was “permitted to resign” from Morgan Stanley last summer following allegations about the accuracy of personal background information he had provided and his involvement in a non-investment-related outside business activity, the firm alleged on its U5 termination filing that is summarized on his BrokerCheck report.
Sources at the time said he had inaccurately reported that he graduated from Texas A&M University, may have exaggerated his military exploits and owned a firearms firm. Fujihara lists his affiliation with Patriot Weapons Systems–a gunsmith, gun painting and wholesale limited sale firm–on his BrokerCheck record, and his LinkedIn profile leads with a description of himself as a “Veteran US Navy.”
Butowsky in August sued Charles Schwab & Co. for $100 million for pulling its custodial services from his RIA. The case has been moved to arbitration.
Earlier this month, Butowsky filed a lawsuit against CNN journalist Anderson Cooper, “The New York Times,” the Democratic National Committee and other parties. It alleges that they orchestrated a “left-wing” smear campaign against him in retaliation for his support of a Fox News story claiming that a DNC staffer had leaked Hillary Clinton campaign emails to WikiLinks.
The family of the now-deceased staffer brought defamation suits against Butowsky, Fox and others. Several of the suits have been dismissed, but one is on appeal and another is pending.
Butowsky alleges in the Schwab lawsuit that his firm’s assets have declined by $45 million, or almost 19%, as a result of the negative publicity he has received. Chapwood was overseeing $237 million in January 2017, compared with $194 million as of January 2019, according its ADV filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.