David Wilkinson Morgan Stanley – Epitome of Greed

Finding a good wealth advisor in Chicago is difficult but if there’s one wealth advisor you must not deal with, it’s David Wilkinson Morgan Stanley. 

Why should you avoid him? Because his firm uses multiple unethical tactics to put their clients in unfavorable agreements. There are various problematic provisions present in his terms and conditions. It would be best to be familiar with these provisions before you sign any agreements with David

The following review will explain those provisions in detail: 

Who is David Wilkinson Morgan Stanley

David Wilkinson Morgan Stanley is a wealth advisor in Chicago, Illinois. His firm is located at 233 S Wacker Dr. Ste 9200, Chicago, IL 60606, US and his contact number is 312-453-9120. 

David claims to help his clients tackle the challenges of managing significant wealth by using his industry knowledge and experience. He offers many services to his clients through his firm, including business services, investment management, cash management & lending, wealth transfer, lifestyle advisory, philanthropy, wealth education, and more. 

Other people on his team are Frank Mahoney, Taylor Coughlin, and Erin Doody. 

David’s firm claims to focus on your financial strategy and personal goals to develop plans that align with the same. 

While all of this sounds very interesting, David Wilkinson Morgan Stanley’s disclosures tell a whole nother story. According to his firm’s disclosures, they have many conflicts of interest which incentivize them for ignoring your financial requirements. For example, they make more money when they put you at higher risk. 

The following section of this review will shed more light on this to help you determine why it would be wise to avoid dealing with this financial advisory firm. 

Red Flags in the Disclosures of David Wilkinson Morgan Stanley

Before you start working with a wealth advisor, you should check their FINRA BrokerCheck listing. It’s a vast database where you can learn about the advisor’s experience, employers, state licenses, and the legal disputes they have had with clients and regulatory authorities. 

Did You Know?

FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) is an American corporation with private ownership. The firm is a self-regulatory organization that affects the member brokerage firms and exchange markets.

The FINRA BrokerCheck listing of David Wilkinson Morgan Stanley shows one dispute. It occurred in 2009. Here, the client alleged that David changed the requested date of redemption from 10-31-2008 to 12-31-2008 without consultation or consent from the client. 

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They requested $1,207,247 in damages. 

However, David’s firm denied the claim without specifying on what grounds they did so. Keep in mind that it’s difficult for such disputes to end in the favor of the investor. That’s because advisors like David make their clients sign multiple waivers which free them from any accountability. 

You should be extremely cautious about working with such advisors. Another advisor who uses this tactic to avoid responsibility is Brian Hetherington of Merrill Lynch

Putting Clients at Excessive Risk

David and his firm charge performance-based fees. This is a highly notorious practice in the finance industry because it incentivizes the advisor to put his clients at additional risk. 

When a wealth advisor charges performance-based fees, they make money only when they outperform a certain index. On paper, this might seem like a good deal. But in reality, it’s terrible for most investors. Why? 

Because the simplest way to “outperform” an index or another benchmark is to use a riskier strategy. 

So, advisors start using high-risk strategies which are unsuitable for most portfolio types. However, they are particularly dangerous for portfolios looking for long-term growth or those with low-risk tolerance. 

High-risk strategies are also more dangerous during down markets. They can wipe out significant chunks of your capital in volatile conditions and they rarely generate positive returns for the investor. 

Furthermore, if you lose capital because of your advisor’s recommended risky strategies, you can’t do anything about it. 

Charging Hidden Fees

Another red flag in David’s disclosures is that his firm can charge hidden fees. They do so by charging a highly notorious fee, the 12b-1 fee. 

It’s a variable percentage fee and shady advisors use it to inflate the investment costs of their clients. Because this fee goes straight into the pocket of the advisor, many of them ensure to add it to their client’s costs. 

Apart from allowing a broker to charge hidden fees, the 12b-1 fee also increases over time. This makes it unsuitable for investors looking for long-term investment plans. Even though it increases the cost of the investment, it doesn’t add any value to it. 

Investments that charge a 12b-1 fee offer the same returns the investments that don’t charge this fee offer. So, you end up paying more while getting no benefits for the added cost. 


David Wilkinson Morgan Stanley might claim to be an excellent wealth advisor but he is untrustworthy. It seems he uses his industry experience to trap investors in unfavorable agreements. 

Unless you want to pay extra fees for getting no benefits and face unnecessarily high risks, it would be best to avoid dealing with David and his firm. 

2.4 Total Score

David Wilkinson Morgan Stanley is a greedy and sleazy wealth advisor who disregards his clients’ requirements to make an extra buck. Hence, it would be best to find a different advisor.

2.5Expert Score
Concern for Clients
2.2User's score
Concern for Clients
  • None
  • Faced a $1 million+ dispute
  • Putting clients at excessive risk
  • Charging hidden fees
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1 Comment
  1. 1.1
    Concern for Clients

    It’s a terrible place to work at. Toxic workplace and poor management.

    - CONS: Horrible leadership
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