Morgan Stanley Ousts Texas Complex Manager Ben Fujihara
(Adds information about Fujihara’s attendance at Texas A&M in penultimate paragraph.)
Morgan Stanley has dismissed Ben Fujihara, a prominent complex manager in Texas who had a strong reputation as a recruiter and had worked at the firm for 20 years.
In a message sent late Monday afternoon to the 14 offices and more than 200 brokers that Fujihara oversaw from Dallas, the firm did not spell out reasons for the departure but indicated that the decision was made mutually.
The announcement surprised current and former employees, given Fujihara’s longevity and the fact that he survived a reorganization of the north Texas complexes just over a year ago that expanded his domain.
Reached Tuesday morning, Fujihara confirmed some sources’ speculation that his dismissal related to outside business activities. He declined to elaborate on details or whether it involved Patriot Weapons System LLC, a firearms firm that he listed on regulatory forms.
The company, which he has been involved with since December 2016, has a staff of one and had annual revenue of $36,347, according to Manta.com, a business listing site.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority has stepped up its scrutiny of advisors’ disclosure of outside activities and of firms’ procedures for monitoring them and for identifying potential conflicts of interest and distractions.
Fujihara is at least the third complex manager to have left Morgan Stanley in as many months. Philadelphia complex manager Richard Frick left in May after seven years as part of a “mutually agreed resignation.” The firm dismissed West Palm Beach, Florida, manager Robert P. McCabe in June, citing his “manner of communications.”
Fujihara had been a complex manager in Dallas for almost 12-and-a-half years, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was viewed internally as a highly effective recruiter of experienced brokers, but that managerial skill appears to have been eclipsed by other metrics since Morgan Stanley radically reduced its hiring budgets 14 months ago.
The manager, who began his financial services career in early 1996 at NYLife Securities, according to BrokerCheck, has been involved with military alumni groups and was in the corps of cadets at Texas A&M University, which he attended from 1990 to 1994, according to his LinkedIn profile.
The registrar’s office at Texas A&M confirmed that Fujihara attended the state school but has no record of his having received a degree, a spokesman for the university said.
Fujihara joined Morgan Stanley in Dallas in December 1997, and has been closely mentored in his career there by Ronald Thacker, the firm’s Dallas-based central region, according to several sources.