Morgan Stanley Zeroes In on a Manager’s Communications Style in Exit Notice
A Morgan Stanley filing with state securities regulators about the abrupt departure last month of a former complex manager suggests that managers have to be more careful than ever about their behavior, but leaves many questions about particulars.
Richard Frick, a 21-year securities industry veteran who had been with the wirehouse since 2011 and was overseeing its Philadelphia advisors, left on May 2 as part of a “mutually agreed resignation stemming from employee’s manner of communications,” according to a U-5 separation agreement reviewed by AdvisorHub.
The notice to regulators that firms are required to file to explain “separations” by registered persons said the issues did not relate to sales and trading but otherwise provided no details about the communications issues. The wording of such notices are carefully negotiated by firm legal departments and employment lawyers representing advisors since it can determine compensation and future job opportunities.
Frick, who started his career at Salomon Smith Barney in 1995 before embarking in 1999 to Prudential Securities and its successor firm Wells Fargo Advisors, could not be reached for comment. He has not registered with a new firm, according to BrokerCheck.
Several employment lawyers who represent brokers said the Frick “manner of communications” language is unusual phraseology and likely reflects the heightened scrutiny of managers and brokers by companies sensitive to potential human resources issues.
“That’s a cutting-edge disclosure,” said Rogge Dunn, an employment lawyer in Dallas, Texas, who said he was not familiar with Frick’s case but is seeing firms demanding more collaborative relationships between managers and field employees and messages and “sensitive” communication.
Every case is unique and fact-dependent, of course, but at least one other wirehouse employee who sources said was dismissed last month over a sensitive human-resources issue has found a new job.
Brett R. Henderson, a $600,000 producer at a UBS Wealth Management Americas branch in Beverly Hills, abruptly left the firm last month after nine years at the wirehouse and four earlier years at Merrill Lynch.
Though his BrokerCheck history records him as still at UBS, he has launched Henderson Wealth Management, a registered investment advisory firm in Manhattan Beach that is affiliated with Resources Investment Advisors, an RIA rollup firm.
Reached on his cellphone, Henderson declined to comment on his departure and his new firm.
Resources Investment, based in Overland Park, Kansas, has $10.4 billion in assets under management, $8.4 billion of which are managed on a discretionary basis, according to its ADV filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March.