Morgan Stanley Broker in Dallas with Big ‘Alts’ Practice Joins Wells
Wells Fargo Advisors has hired a Morgan Stanley broker in Texas who was generating around $1.8 million in annual revenue, at least the second broker in the Dallas area to have made the shift in the past year.Sean A. Lewis, who worked from both Morgan Stanley’s Spring Valley Road branch in north Dallas and from a shopping-center branch in Bozeman, Montana, joined Wells Advisors’ private client group on Friday, according to his BrokerCheck report and to three sources. He is based in the Dallas suburb of Plano.
The 26-year industry veteran, who a source said invests his clients heavily in “alternatives” such as private equity funds and fund of funds and whose Morgan Stanley website describes him as an “alternative investments director,” did not respond to a request for comment.
A person familiar with his move said he felt under pressure from the firm to diversify his clients’ portfolios.
A spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley confirmed Lewis’ departure but declined further comment. A Wells spokeswoman declined to comment.
Lewis moved with a client associate, but his three fellow brokers at “The Dallas Consulting Group” team stayed at Morgan Stanley. Russell “Rusty” Cooper, the longest-tenured member who has been with Morgan Stanley and predecessor firms for 35 years, did not return a call for comment.
Wells, which has just under 13,800 brokers to Morgan Stanley’s 15,700, is the only of the four “wirehouse” brokerage firms that is aggressively recruiting experienced brokers.
While rivals seek to rein in costs, with occasional hiring exceptions, Wells has been writing checks in an attempt to replace more than 1,000 advisors who left or retired since disclosure in the fall of 2016 of fake account schemes at the retail commercial bank. It is reportedly offering successful advisors bonuses and forgivable loans that can approach three times their trailing-12-month revenue, and also is incentivizing third party recruiters with premium commissions.
Wells still lost a net 427 advisors from the end of last year’s second quarter to June 30, 2019, but its recruiting from competitors has borne some success. Among its hires is Jeffrey Ockwood, a $1.6-million producer who moved from another Morgan Stanley Dallas-area branch last summer to join the Wells’ Plano branch where Lewis just arrived.
Lewis first registered as a securities industry representative in 1993 with Prudential Securities, according to his BrokerCheck record, and also has worked at Dean Witter Reynolds (bought by Morgan Stanley), Rauscher Pierce Refsnes (bought by UBS’s PaineWebber predecessor) and Everen Securities (now part of Wells).
He spent almost 11 years with CIBC/Oppenheimer before joining Morgan Stanley almost nine years ago.
The only mark on Lewis’ BrokerCheck record involves an Oppenheimer customer’s complaint about the unsuitability of auction-rate securities, which was made long after those instruments collapsed and which the firm denied.
—Jed Horowitz contributed to this story.