July 29, 2021
A top New Jersey broker in UBS Wealth Management USA’s Private Wealth Management unit has cleaned up its client complaint file, thanks in part to unusual support from his former firm.
On July 26, a panel of three arbitrators recommended that the financial industry regulator remove the only red mark affecting Red Bank’s BrokerCheck record, New Jersey broker Ira Allen Walker. The ruling followed Morgan Stanley attorneys, who stated that the client complaint in the underlying case was unfounded and that the law firm had come to an agreement to avoid substantial legal fees, according to the ruling and a description on Walker’s BrokerCheck. (The disclosure will remain in place until Walker upholds the award in court.)
Support is rare as firms have little incentive to support a former broker, and is all the more notable since Walker left Morgan Stanley in 2008, said Jennifer Farrar, a Tomball, Texas attorney who regularly represents brokers, said the removals Looking for.
“Securing the testimony of Morgan Stanley’s attorney is unique,” said Farrar. “Kudos to the agent for hiring a great attorney putting together a strong deletion case.”
The panel eventually agreed to the deletion on the grounds that Walker was “not involved in the alleged violation of investment-related sales practices”.
Walker, a 45-year-old industry veteran ranked by Forbes as a top consultant in New Jersey this year and ninth in its national rankings last year, didn’t respond to a request for comment.
According to Forbes, the broker appears to have an influential practice with client assets under management of $ 974 million and a minimum of $ 5 million for new accounts.
His attorney, David E. Robbins, a partner in New York merchants Gildin & Robbins, did not respond to a request for comment on the story. Nor did a Morgan Stanley spokesman and his attorneys for the Finra hearing, William D. Briendel, a shareholder, and Joseph A. Sack, counsel at Greenberg Sad in White Plains, New York, fail.
Walker was not named in the customer’s complaint, both after Walker BrokerCheck’s comment and after the Finra panel’s award.
The customer complaint dates back to 2007 and related to allegations that Morgan Stanley overcharged them by allocating some trades on commission accounts rather than a wrap fee program that would have been cheaper.
The clients, Stephen and Aldred Papetti, had claimed $ 8 million in damages, according to Walker’s BrokerCheck record. Morgan Stanley reached a deal with the client for $ 245,000 in 2019, the records say. Also Max Folkenflik, a partner of Folkenflik & McGerity from New York, who represented the customers, did not respond to a request for comment.
Walker has “contradicted every agreement with these customers who have not complained to me or my employees about anything,” he writes in his comment. Walker and two of his assistants testified at the Finra hearing that the complaining customers told them “approx. “Contacted several times a day for 10 years” but “never complained,” he adds in the comment.
The complaining clients neither took part in the Finra hearing nor raised objections to the deletion, according to the Finra decision. In May 2021, both sides submitted a settlement agreement and at the same time submitted the request for cancellation, according to the arbitration award.
The umpires – Julian F. Santos and Fred Pieroni as public representatives and Andrea Horowitz as non-public member – recommended the deletion based on the testimony and documents provided by Walker, they wrote.
The events underlying the complaint occurred 12 to 18 years ago, and clients who “never complained” during the deal in question moved their accounts to UBS when Walker left Morgan Stanley, the arbitrators wrote. Morgan Stanley sent monthly bills to clients, their accountant and their attorney, the arbitrators added.
“Mr. Walker and other witnesses testified that the Claimants would call and come to the office daily often in the office, sometimes placing unsolicited orders for which they were authorized just outside of the managed account that was the company rule. Unsolicited Transactions could not take place within the managed account. All testified that the The plaintiffs were well aware of these differences, ”wrote the arbitrators.
The arbitrators charged Morgan Stanley half the cost of hearing sessions of $ 6,450 and held the complaining clients responsible for the remainder.
A UBS spokesman did not want to comment on this story.