Departing Morgan Stanley Broker Demonstrates How Not To Resign

Did you ever wonder how NOT to resign from your job? One Morgan Stanley broker has perfected the technique. It’s painstaking, but he must of felt it was worth it.

Step 1. Go into the firm database and change the phone numbers on each of the 900 clients you have developed over the course of 20 years.

Step 2. Provide a list of clients as required by the official rule book on a thumb drive. But show how well you understand your employer’s database. Be sure the USB is not compatible with the firm’s database. (That shouldn’t be too hard. Even when these things are supposed to work they often don’t.)

Step 3. Explain that, technically speaking, you are playing by the Broker Recruiting Protocol rule book, which basically says (1) departing advisors can provide their new firms with client contact information AFTER they join, and (2) they must  leave all original documents at their former firm. Nobody says the firm must be able to actually read those documents.

Step 4. Hire a very good lawyer because the odds are that most firms would do what Morgan Stanley did: Sue.

If you’ve built a good business and your client relationships are solid, you don’t need to engage in the shenanigans Investment News wrote about.  Follow both the letter and the spirit of the rules. If you’ve done you’re job right, the transition will be smooth and clients will respect your integrity.


Protocol Member Firms

About Mark Elzweig

I am an executive search recruiter with an inside track on financial advisors, the asset management industry, and Wall Street. My work has appeared in numerous publications including On Wall Street,AdvisorOne, and Fund Fire. Journalists regularly seek me out, so you catch my bon mots in The Wall Street Journal, Research Magazine, Reuters, and more. You can follow me on Twitter @elzweig or you can reach me directly at 212-685-7070 or
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One Response to Departing Morgan Stanley Broker Demonstrates How Not To Resign

  1. Article is right on point.
    I was quoted on the story and shared some additional insights. First, firms increasingly are suing when the Protocol is not followed to the letter. The fee for competent securities counsel to be retained to guide reps through the process is reasonable and well-spent given a career move is at stake.
    Second, I hope those ex-Morgan Stanley reps paid attention to and hired competent securities counsel to review and negotiate their Ameriprise employment and other agreements. Many surprises / traps await the unwary!

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