Financial adviser Jon Barrack's post-Stanford struggle

Finding a job in this tough recessionary market is a lot more difficult if your former employer collapsed in the flames of scandal. The Wall Street Journal blog Managing Your Career explores today some of the problems faced by job-seekers late of tainted companies, such as how to explain away that tenure with, say, Bernard Madoff's outfit.

One man struggling with rehabilitating his career is Jon A. Barrack, a Memphis investment adviser who lost his job with Stanford Financial Group after federal authorities took over the company, which was implicated in the second-biggest Ponzi scheme in history (after Madoff's).

Paychecks stopped for Mr. Barrack and many of the financial firm's 3,000 employees. He lacked income until April, when he began working for Oppenheimer & Co. in Memphis, Tenn. On July 15, Oppenheimer closed his office--part of its broader layoff of 20 of the roughly 90 ex-Stanford counselors hired. Mark Whaley, an Oppenheimer managing director, blames the advisers' insufficient transfer of Stanford clients and their assets because some assets remained frozen and some clients switched providers.

Mr. Barrack became a personal wealth adviser again in July in the Memphis office of a midsize firm, after tapping his extensive web of personal contacts to help land the job. Getting hired there "is a miracle," he says. After his Stanford and Oppenheimer experiences, Mr. Barrack feels extremely lucky to have landed employment again so fast. "I have been struck by lightning twice and am still standing," he says.

But he doubts he soon will make a good living again. "It's going to take a substantial rebuilding process to get back to what I was making at Stanford Financial," he predicts.


Another complication for Barrack that the WSJ article does not mention: Texas attorney Ralph Janvey, the court-appointed receiver who terminated Barrack and dozens of others in Memphis, filed a lawsuit in April seeking to recover millions of dollars in commissions from Stanford investment advisers, including Barrack and four others in the Memphis office. Barrack alone could be on the hook for $241,751 connected to incentives from the sale of allegedly fraudulent certificates of deposit. Janvey would distribute the money to defrauded investors if the suit is successful.


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