Roger Coleman, Morgan Stanley SuperBroker, Is MIA
Roger Coleman, whose team manages some $28 billion of client money at Morgan Stanley and is a perennial top 10 advisor in “Barron’s” annual ranking, is on indefinite administrative leave, according to multiple internal and external sources.
Several said his departure late last week from his branch in Garden City, New York, is likely compliance-related. He allegedly testified falsely in arbitration hearings involving two advisors who left his his team in 2013, they said.
Coleman denied the allegations. In phone calls last Friday and on Tuesday, he told AdvisorHUB he is spending extra time with his family because his father-in-law is seriously ill.
Told that two people said a guard was outside his office after he left on Thursday, he replied: “That’s bulls***. Someone’s trying to screw with you.”
Asked when he plans to return to his practice, which specializes in managing stock option awards and administration of other stock-related windfalls for executives, he hesitated.
“It depends on whether my father-in-law passes,” he said. “But it’s been 33 years. That’s a long career.”
A Morgan Stanley spokesman wrote in an email that the information we received about Coleman is “not true,” but would not elaborate on the circumstances of his absence.
If Coleman is in trouble, it would be the latest indication that high production and “star quality” does not necessarily translate into strong managerial skills or job security. As reported yesterday, Merrill Lynch’s former top producer in Indiana is a continuing cause of embarrassment to the firm.
Asked if his leave relates to an ongoing Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration case, in which former team members challenge compensation he received for servicing their clients after they allegedly terminated their partnership agreement, Coleman said: “I can’t talk about the arbitration, about a legal case against advisors.”
In January 2013, Morgan Stanley filed for a temporary restraining order to prevent Brian Shepherd and Brian Melbourne from leaving for Credit Suisse’s “private banking” office, pending an arbitration claim. In a letter filed in a New York State court, the pair’s lawyer argued that Coleman was enraged because of their allegations that “he stole accounts and earnings to which he was not entitled” and because their move interfered with his job-changing plans.
Melbourne declined to comment and Shepherd did not return a call for comment.
Coleman, who says he was raised in a family of 12 children, joined Smith Barney in 1989 to work with Fortune 500 clients and oversees a team of 29 other advisers, according to his company website. His first job as a registered representative was with Moore & Schley, Cameron in 1983, according to Finra’s BrokerCheck.
In 2013, when he ranked as “Barron’s” Top Advisor in New York, Coleman said he quickly grew frustrated with his first Wall Street job, “a low-paying gig matching buy and sell orders,” and asked the CEO for a promotion. “If I could talk to my father, I could talk to anyone,” he said.