Mark Leighton Morgan Stanley | Not to be trusted?

Finding a wealth advisor who understands your requirements and goals is tricky business. But if you know about the shady advisors present in the industry, you can be certain of your choices. One advisor who uses unethical tactics to take advantage of his clients is Mark Leighton Morgan Stanley

Even though he makes many claims about his reliability and expertise, his terms and conditions tell an entirely different story. The following review will shed more light on these aspects of his practice to resolve any concerns you might have: 

Who is Mark Leighton Morgan Stanley?

Mark Leighton is a financial advisor based in Portland, Maine. His office is located at 100 Middle St 3rd Fl, Portland, ME 04101, US and his contact number is 207-871-7329. 

Mark claims to offer experienced wealth planning services to his clients so they can achieve their life and legacy goals. He claims to focus on delivering plans that are uniquely targeted to each of his clients. 

According to his profile on Morgan Stanley’s website, Mark focuses on understanding the needs, goals and risk attitudes of his clients before charting out a financial plan for them. Also, Mark claims to identify the short and long term goals of his clients to determine what they want to accomplish.

He offers the following services to his clients: 

It’s easy for someone to think Mark Leighton Morgan Stanley is a reliable advisor after reading these claims. However, all of these claims are misleading. 

In reality, Mark traps investors in unfavorable agreements by hiding the problematic provisions in the fine print. The following section of this review will help you identify these provisions:

Terrible Past and Horrible Provisions of Mark Leighton Morgan Stanley

Dispute for Mishandling Clients’ Funds

Before you begin working with a wealth advisor, you should check his FINRA BrokerCheck profile. There, you can learn about their past experience, employers, certifications, and their client disputes. 

Having this information can aid you in determining whether a particular advisor is trustworthy or not. 

The FINRA BrokerCheck listing of Mark Leighton Morgan Stanley reflects one client dispute. It occurred in 2001. Here, the client alleged that Mark mishandled their monies without considering their experience or need to take a balanced approach towards their investments. 

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They requested $13,000 in damages. 

However, the firm denied the claim. The disclosure doesn’t highlight why the firm denied the claim and what they did in response to these claims. 

Moreover, you should know that most of these disputes end in the favor of the advisor because of the waivers they make their clients sign. Usually, unethical advisors employ this method to avoid accountability. Timothy Finucan Edward Jones is another example of such an unethical advisor. 

Broker-Dealer Conflict

The first red flag in the terms and conditions of Mark Leighton Morgan Stanley’s terms and conditions is that he is dual-registered as a broker and an advisor. 

Dual-registered advisors are highly notorious in the finance industry. That’s because being dual-registered exposes an advisor’s clients to many conflicts of interest

These include sharing revenue with mutual funds, charging asset-based and transaction-based fees on the same security, and giving preference to affiliated funds. 

Also, dual-registered brokers prefer institutional share classes of the same underperforming mutual funds they offer brokerage clients. They charge their retail RIA clients higher fees than their brokerage clients. 

Research shows that such advisors fall short of the fiduciary standard. 

Putting Clients at Excessive Risk

Mark Leighton Morgan Stanley charges performance-based fees. When an advisor charges performance-based fees, he earns money for outperforming a specific index. 

Although it seems like an attractive proposition, charging performance-based fees is a highly dangerous practice. It incentivizes the advisor to take inappropriate risks with their clients’ funds.

High risk strategies tend to generate quicker returns. So, the advisor can charge higher fees. However, such strategies seldom work. 

In most cases, these strategies generate poor or negative returns for the investor. Hence, you end up with terrible returns while your advisor gets to charge you substantially. Also, if the strategy  fails and you end up losing a significant chunk of your funds, you can’t hold the advisor responsible. 

Keep in mind that high risk strategies are particularly dangerous for large portfolios and portfolios that want long term growth. Moreover, they are especially dangerous in down markets. 

Avoid dealing with any advisor who charges performance-based fees. 


After going through the professional history of Mark Leighton Morgan Stanley, it’s clear that he is unsuitable for most investors. He charges performance-based fees and encourages his team to ignore their clients’ risk tolerance. 

The wealth advisor makes empty and misleading claims about his services to scam investors. Hence, you should avoid dealing with him altogether. 

1.7 Total Score

Mark Leighton Morgan Stanley may make many attractive claims about his services. However, the truth is, he is a horrible and greedy advisor who puts his clients at risk to make an extra buck. Avoid dealing with such a sketchy advisor.

2.8Expert Score
Concern for Clients
0.5User's score
Concern for Clients
  • None
  • Faced a dispute for mishandling clients’ funds
  • Putting clients at excessive risk
  • Broker-dealer conflict
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1 Comment
  1. 0.25
    Concern for Clients

    I have suspicions that Mark Leighton has been scamming my uncle and aunt for a while now.

    I have worked with finance advisors for years and the investments Mark’s team recommended them are definitely unsuitable for them.

    They wouldn’t listen to me but I wish they would read this review.

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