A Manhattan federal court judge has approved the addition of several more former Morgan Stanley financial advisors to a lawsuit accusing the firm of refusing to pay deferred compensation and denied the firm’s motion to move the case to arbitration.

In December 2020, former Morgan Stanley financial advisor Matthew Shafer filed a suit in a Manhattan federal court alleging that the firm failed to pay him more than $500,000 in deferred compensation earned before fully vesting in the firm’s benefit plan, as reported. The lawsuit is seeking class action status.

Shafer had left Morgan Stanley in September 2018 with two other advisors for Raymond James & Associates, the firm’s traditional employee broker-dealer, as reported. Shafer’s team had $475 million in client assets at Morgan Stanley at the time.

Shafer’s suit claimed that Morgan Stanley failed to pay deferred compensation to many other advisors who left the firm.

Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York approved the addition of Sheri HaugabookPeter HeidtRandall PowersJeffrey Shover and Mace Tamse to Shafer’s suit, according to court documents published earlier this month.

Haugabook, a 26-year veteran of the financial services industry, left Morgan Stanley for RJA in August 2017, according to BrokerCheck.

Heidt, who’s been in the industry for 25 years, left Morgan Stanley for Ameriprise in July 2020, according to BrokerCheck.

Powers, who joined the industry in 1988, left Morgan Stanley for Stifel, Nicolaus & Co. in October 2016, according to BrokerCheck.

Shover, a 28-year veteran of the industry, jumped ship for RJA in October 2019 and left for Ameriprise the following month, according to BrokerCheck.

Tamse, who’s been in the industry for close to four decades, left Morgan Stanley in March 2015 for Ameriprise, according to BrokerCheck.

Gardephe, meanwhile, also denied Morgan Stanley’s motion to compel arbitration, without prejudice to renewal in case the firm files an amended complaint, according to court documents.

Gardephe’s rulings were first reported by AdvisorHub.

By Alex Padalka