Morgan Stanley Eases Out Complex Manager in Florida
(Updated with comment from the company in second-to-last paragraph.)
Morgan Stanley has replaced at least one complex manager as a result of its reorganized regional sales structure that was announced last week.
Bert White, the high-energy manager of the firm’s West Palm Beach, Fla., complex of four branches and some 175 brokers, is leaving after 16 years with Morgan Stanley and predecessor Smith Barney, according to several well-placed sources.
White, 48, has been replaced at the Florida complex by Tim Byrnes, who lost his role as Southeast regional manager in the reorganization, which eliminated two of Morgan Stanley’s eight sales regions. Byrnes’ former job has been assumed by Michael Struckman, head of the brokerage’s now-defunct Northwest region.
White, who began his brokerage career in 1992 at A.G. Edwards & Sons, declined to comment. Byrnes did not return calls for comment.
Morgan Stanley executives told managers in a conference call on Wednesday night that only two of the firm’s approximately 72 complex managers have lost their posts as a result of the regional reorganization, according to a broker who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The changes were not motivated by cost-cutting and will not affect administrative and other support functions, the managers were told.
While White may have been sacrificed to make room for a more senior manager, some current and former Morgan Stanley managers said his superiors may have learned that he has been considering offers from rival firms.
“He was very popular,” said a former Morgan Stanley and Smith Barney executive who previously oversaw White. “There will be competition to get him.”
The West Palm Beach complex that White managed generates annual revenue of around $150 million, and include several top-producing ‘Chairman’s Club’ brokers who were supportive of White, according to two other sources familiar with his business.
White, who slyly displayed his competitive spirit in this Ice Bucket Challenge video from 2014, “was one of the last Smith Barney managers standing,” said Michael Maurer, a former complex manager with Morgan Stanley who is now chairman of D.C.-based advisory firm Steward Partners.
A Morgan Stanley spokesperson said 45% of the firm’s complex managers had been with Smith Barney.
Morgan Stanley has consolidated about 350 branches since taking over the former Citigroup unit in 2009, leaving it with 601 at the end of 2016.