Morgan Stanley Star Who Exited in Partnership Fracas Joins N.J. RIA
A top-ranked Morgan Stanley broker with a client book of about $1 billion has found a new home after allegedly being forced out over a fracas with his former partner.
Less than two weeks earlier, Weinerman left Morgan Stanley over allegations of firm policy violations involving a listening device he hid in his former partner’s office, according to a source familiar with the circumstances.
Weinerman may have been concerned that the partner, Michael Ricca, was considering moving to another firm, the source said, but subsequently removed the device and self-reported his action to local management.
Weinerman, who had worked at Morgan Stanley and predecessor firms for 32 years of his 33-year career, did not return a call for comment left at his office with Summit. His lawyer, Brian Neville of Lax & Neville in New York, declined to comment.
Ricca, who had partnered with Weinerman since 1997, according to the team’s former website, did not return a call for comment. A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman did not return a request for comment on the reasons for Weinerman’s departure or firm policies.
The incident points to the challenges that can arise in team partnerships, but which have been strained in many cases by the work-at-home restrictions of the pandemic, according to brokers and lawyers. It also points to large firms’ growing intolerance of policy violations by even the most successful brokers.
“Covid has really turned the industry into Lord of the Flies,” said Cleveland-based lawyer Scott Matasar, who was not involved in the Weinerman incident. “Everybody has been protecting their turf out of concern over what Covid meant for their bottom line.”
Weinerman’s team had managed about $4.7 billion in assets, ranking him #6 on Forbes’ 2021 list of top advisors in New Jersey.
“Summit Financial cannot comment on internal matters between Mr. Weinerman and Morgan Stanley but can confirm David’s departure from Morgan Stanley was not client-related,” a Summit spokeswoman said in a statement. “Summit recognizes David’s 30-plus year record of providing the highest quality advice to his clients, and Summit quickly realized he would be a valuable addition to the firm.”
Summit, which is based in Parsippany, NJ, oversees $4.1 billion in advisory assets, according to its most recent Form ADV. Its backers include Merchant Investment Management, which has taken stakes in a number of RIAs.
Summit’s chief executive officer is Stan Gregor, a longtime brokerage executive with Wells Fargo, Wachovia and Quick and Reilly, who also briefly served as co-CEO of Cantor Fitzgerald Wealth Partners.
(Story was updated to include comment from Summit spokesperson.)