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At times we’ve discussed the nature of regulatory action in the wealth industry as being increasingly proactive. The Tom Buck saga is ‘Exhibit A’ for regulatory overreach and eventual incarceration. Did something similar just go down at Morgan Stanley in New Jersey?

Here is what happened:

David S. Weinerman was fired Tuesday for what Morgan Stanley called “firm policy violations” that did not relate to customer accounts. Given that the allegations aren’t related to customer accounts makes this case different than Tom Buck. Still, the size of Mr. Weinerman’s business is of real interest.

Weinerman had been managing more than $1 billion in assets and turning it over to the tune of $4 million in annual revenue. Another marker in the ‘we don’t care how big you are’ regulatory movement.

Mr. Weinerman was #6 on Forbes’ list of top New Jersey advisors this year. Of real interest, he has no customer complaints or regulatory disclosures.

So Morgan Stanley seems to have fired a previously perfect advisor with a billion in client assets for reasons having ZERO to do with customer accounts.

This doesn’t pass the proverbial smell test. What it does do is serve as another reminder to retain your own PERSONAL counsel and institute policies on and around your own team that go beyond company policies. Don’t use email, have your admin team do it on your behalf. Tread lightly, be more politically correct, stay away from younger staffers (or don’t hire them at all), and hire an internal ‘compliance liaison’ on your team so you don’t miss anything.

Nobody is safe in an active corporate and regulatory environment. Nobody. Just ask David Weinerman.

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