Morgan Stanley Returns to Court as Another NJ Broker Jumps to Merrill
Morgan Stanley has asked a New Jersey federal court to further restrain a former manager in southern New Jersey from recruiting his former colleagues to join him at a nearby Merrill Lynch branch.
In an amendment filed Wednesday to a restraining order request, Morgan Stanley said that Robert Beylickjian this week recruited a fourth broker as well as an assistant from its Lawrenceville office to join him at Merrill’s Princeton branch.
Beylickjian, who had been with Morgan Stanley for nine of his 28 years as a registered representative, had recruited three brokers in September, according to a complaint filed last week in New Jersey District Court. Morgan Stanley also has filed a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority complaint against Beylickjian.
The three previous brokers recruited collectively oversaw client assets of about $200 million, according to the initial restraining order request, a sign that wirehouses are stepping up their legal attacks even for lower-level producers at a time when they have slowed recruiting of veterans with large books of business.
Earlier this week, Beylickjian recruited advisor Deborrah Lindsay as well as William Velcko, who the amended complaint describes as the manager’s former assistant. Velcko declined to comment, and Lindsay, who has spent her seven-year career as a registered representative at Morgan Stanley’s Lawrenceville, NJ, did not respond to messages left at her Merrill branch.
Beylickjian also did not respond to requests for comment.
“[E]ven after this action was filed, Beylickjian continued to violate his obligations,” Morgan Stanley asserted it its amended restraining order requests, claiming it will be “irreparably harmed” if Beylickjian is not enjoined from violating the terms of his employment, code of conduct and separation agreements.
“When Velcko informed Morgan Stanley on the morning of Tuesday, October 10, 2017, of his resignation, he was asked if he was going to work for Beylickjian,” according to the complaint. “He nodded his head, ‘yes.’ In fact, he said he received an ‘offer of a lifetime.’”
A spokesman for Merrill Lynch declined to comment.
Lindsay had spent her seven-year career as a registered representative at Morgan Stanley’s Lawrenceville, NJ, office that Beylickjian ran, according to BrokerCheck. Velcko’s name does not appear in Finra’s BrokerCheck database.
Morgan Stanley characterized the exodus of Beylickjian’s colleagues in the amended complaint as “highly orchestrated.” It said that three brokers who left in September—James Bumstead, Michael Barna and Joseph Nelligan—staggered their moves over the course of a week in an attempt to retain clients. Nelligan “strategically delayed his resignation” a few days after his colleagues left in an attempt to have some of their clients assigned to him although he “had no intention of trying to convince the clients to stay at Morgan Stanley,” the amended complaint said.
The three brokers managed $200 million of customer assets combined, according to Morgan Stanley’s original complaint. The amended complaint does not give metrics on Lindsay’s production or assets under management.
Nelligan last week accepted terms of the temporary restraining order that prevent him from contacting clients that he had inherited from a Morgan Stanley broker who retired in 2014, according to court filings.
A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman did not return a request for comment.