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Dynasty Financial hires a heavy-hitting lawyer to oversee a sea of contracts

A former Barclays and Lehman gun, Jonathan Morris will handle the myriad of deals the platform provider forms with vendors and advisors alike

Thursday, September 20, 2012 – 4:56 AM by Brooke Southall
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Jonathan Morris has seen it all after having been at Lehman during the collapse.

Dynasty Financial Partners LLC — with its myriad deals with vendors, platforms, clients and partners — is nothing if not an ocean of contracts. And it now has a contract czar of sorts.

The New York-based firm has named Jonathan R. Morris as chief legal and governance officer to manage all of its legal and compliance issues. Morris, formerly a senior attorney for Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.'s investment management division, will report directly to Shirl Penney, president and CEO of Dynasty Financial Partners.

“Jonathan’s stellar experience and track record makes him uniquely qualified to support Dynasty and its continued expansion in the financial services arena,” says Penney in a release. “We see Jonathan’s role as critical to the firm’s continued development and expansion.”

Penney added in an interview that Morris was key in overseeing legal and compliance work associated with melding Barclays and assets of Lehman after the latter company’s collapse in 2008.

Reign maker

Morris will be responsible for all legal and governance matters, including acting as a liaison to Dynasty’s outside counsel, negotiating contracts and representing Dynasty on all legal matters arising from its business. He will also be responsible for developing and maintaining Dynasty’s compliance programs in accordance with applicable rules and regulations.

In fact, it’s the growing importance of legal and compliance issues that drove Morris to Dynasty.

“Having worked at Lehman and Barclays in the wealth area for a good part of my career and counseling advisers over the previous practice, I strongly believe that the movement towards independence is a compelling business model which is only gaining further traction with the evolving regulation and fiduciary standards,” Morris wrote in an e-mail. “Dynasty’s platform, the quality of the people, their energy and the Dynasty vision presented a great opportunity for me.”

The firm’s Dynasty Advisor Network has been expanding rapidly over the last year and now has more than $13 billion in assets under advisement. See: Dynasty Financial Partners launches a branding and marketing subsidiary peopled by ex-Citi execs.

Lehman alumni

In the past 16 months, Dynasty has announced 15 partner firms with a combined 37 advisors that have joined the growing network of independent advisors that utilize Dynasty’s industry-leading integrated platform. In 2012, the firm has broadened its geographic footprint by adding independent advisor teams in locations such as Florida, Illinois, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin. See: Dynasty Financial nabs a big Florida RIA as a client, pulling closer to Schwab.

Morris has more than 30 years’ legal experience. He joins Dynasty Financial Partners from Day Pitney LLP, where he was co-head of the broker-dealer, investment adviser and commodities firm practice group. Prior to his stint at Day Pitney, Morris was a managing director, general counsel and head of governance for Barclays Wealth Americas, where he supported the British bank’s expansion into the private-wealth-management business in the Americas.

Prior to Barclays, Morris was a managing director and the senior attorney for Lehman Brothers’ investment management division. He began his career at Seward & Kissel in New York. He received a JD from Fordham University Law School and a BA from Washington & Lee University.

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