An ex-Morgan Stanley broker has sued the wirehouse in an effort to recover the deferred compensation that he forfeited when he left the company in 2018.
In a complaint filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, broker Matthew Timothy Shafer of Florida said Morgan Stanley violated the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 by illegally withholding the deferred compensation from him and other advisors after they left the firm.
Morgan Stanley declined to comment Monday on the suit, which is seeking class-action status on behalf of “thousands” of other former advisors at the firm whose deferred compensation was also withheld.
Shafer is seeking a recovery of the funds withheld from him and other defendants yet to be named, as well as compensatory damages, among other relief.
Morgan Stanley allocates 75% of an advisor’s deferred compensation to the Morgan Stanley Compensation Incentive Plan that vests in six years (after previously vesting in eight years) and 25% of their deferred compensation to the Morgan Stanley Equity Incentive Compensation Plan that vests in four years, according to the complaint.
Morgan Stanley causes advisors to “forfeit their deferred compensation if they leave Morgan Stanley before these vesting dates,” the complaint alleges.