The Independence Wealth Management Group Morgan Stanley

If you’re looking for Independence wealth advisory firms in the national capital, you might come across the Independence Wealth Management Group. It’s a part of Morgan Stanley and uses various unethical tactics to take funds from its clients. 

Before you trust them with your funds and savings, it would be best to understand what these unethical tactics are. This way, you’d be better prepared when you face them. The following review will help you in this regard: 

About the Independence Wealth Management Group Morgan Stanley

The Independence Wealth Management Group is a financial consultancy firm in Washington DC. Their office is located at 1775 I St NW Suite 200, Washington DC, 20006, US, and the contact number is 202-861-5113.

The firm claims to help its clients get customized investment solutions through its sophisticated discretionary strategies, comprehensive risk analysis, and personalized financial planning. They offer various services at this firm including asset management, sustainable investing, lending products, alternative investments, and Independence wealth planning. 

The executive director at this firm is Skip Moosher while the senior vice president is J Timothy Thompson. Other notable people at this firm include Charles Boylan, Courtney McIntosh, Mackenzie Mendoza, and Quanta Sterling. 

The Independence Wealth Management Group claims to help its clients with family, investing, retirement planning, philanthropy, business planning, and several other aspects of one’s financial life. 

Even though the firm makes such boastful claims about its concern for its clients know that most of them are lies. That’s because the disclosures of this firm tell a completely different story. 

Not only that but the executive director of this firm, Skip Moosher, doesn’t use his original name. His actual name is Erwin J Moosher which he has stopped using maybe because of the legal dispute he had with one of his clients. I have shared the details of the dispute as well. 

According to the terms and conditions of IWM, this firm makes more profit when it ignores its clients’ requirements. There are a ton of conflicts of interest present in their disclosures which I have highlighted in the next section of this review:

Things the Independence Wealth Management Group Tries to Hide from You

Before you trust an advisor with your financial future and its security, it’s best to check their past. One of the most effective ways to do so is by checking their FINRA BrokerCheck profile. There, you can find out about the advisor’s professional experience, their past employers, the exams they have passed, their state licenses and the legal disputes they have had. 

The FINRA BrokerCheck profile of Skip Moosher shows one legal dispute. It occurred in 2008. Here, the client complained about the performance of a proprietary alternative investment product. It declined substantially during volatile markets. Hence, the client alleged misrepresentation.

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However, Moosher’s firm denied the claim entirely without citing any reason. 

Did You Know?

Most financial disputes are resolved by ADR methods. The ADR methods include arbitration, negotiation, mediation, conciliation and private judging. However, it needs to be noted that less lawsuits are filed for financial scams than civil crimes, and people try to stick to the ADR methods, due to the dubious agreements by the brokers. 

Keep in mind that it’s extremely difficult for misrepresentation claims to end in the client’s favor. That’s because the advisor makes you sign multiple waivers at the beginning of your professional relationship with them. This allows them to operate with the least bit of accountability possible. 

Also, it’s quite a common tactic among predatory advisors particularly. They use this method to get away with major disputes and discourage current investors from filing any new disputes. 

Charging Performance-based Fees

One of the biggest red flags in the disclosures of the Independence Wealth Management Group Morgan Stanley is that it charges performance-based fees. When your advisor charges you performance-based fees, they make money only when they beat an index. 

On paper, it seems quite attractive as a fee structure. But in reality, it’s horrible for investors.

That’s because a performance-based fee structure encourages the advisor to pursue high-risk strategies regardless of their suitability for the investor. These strategies help the advisor in outperforming the index in the short term. This way, he can charge you exponentially during this period.

However, high-risk strategies are terrible for long-term growth as they have a high failure rate. So, in most cases, these strategies yield poor or negative returns. 

While the advisor can charge you hefty fees when the strategy works, they take no responsibility for the losses you suffer because of them. As a result, it puts the investor in a detrimental position which you should avoid at all costs. 

Selling Investments Instead of Recommending Them

As a part of Morgan Stanley, the Independence Wealth Management Group can earn commissions from selling its proprietary products. Selling proprietary products leads to various conflicts of interest such as cross-selling of mutual funds. 

Also, it restricts the firm’s selection of available securities they can recommend. The firm wouldn’t recommend any investments that don’t generate commissions. 

Similarly, they would avoid recommending securities that generate them lower commissions than others regardless of their suitability for your portfolio. Due to these reasons, selling proprietary products can be extremely dangerous for investors. 

Your advisor has a monetary incentive for ignoring your requirements when they earn commissions from certain investments. As a result, you might receive poor or subpar suggestions from them. 

Apart from proprietary products, this firm can also earn a commission from the sale of affiliated products. 


From giving biased recommendations to putting clients at excessive risk, this firm has plenty of red flags. It would be best to avoid them altogether and find a different firm that actually cares about its clients. 

2.8Expert Score

The Independence Wealth Management Group Morgan Stanley is dangerous for your finances. Its leader had to change his name because of his legal disputes with his clients. Furthermore, the firm uses multiple manipulative tactics. Due to these reasons, it would be best to avoid them.

Concern for Clients
  • None
  • Leader of the firm uses a changed name
  • Have incentive for ignoring the client's requirements
  • Put clients at excessive risk

1 Comment
  1. It’s disgraceful to see how far the standards of our financial industry have fallen, especially those of Morgan Stanley. The independence wealth group shouldn’t carry such a prestigious name.

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