Morgan Stanley Fails to Halt Oregon Advisor from Soliciting Former Clients

Posted on August 19th, 2021 at 2:44 PM
Morgan Stanley Fails to Halt Oregon Advisor from Soliciting Former Clients

From the Desk of Jim Eccleston at Eccleston Law:

A former Morgan Stanley Oregon-based advisor has prevailed in a legal battle over a temporary restraining order (TRO), which restricted him from soliciting former clients at his new firm. Oregon U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken determined that Morgan Stanley did not meet the threshold of “extraordinary remedy” to justify the TRO, according to the opinion. Morgan Stanley alleged that Robert Sevcik, who now works for D.A. Davidson, had breached a non-solicitation agreement controlling accounts Sevcik had inherited from a retired advisor. However, Judge Aiken ruled that Morgan Stanley did not provide that the firm would suffer “irreparable harm” or that it could meet a “balance of equities” fairness test. 

Aiken discovered that Morgan Stanley showed at least one instance where Sevcik had violated non-solicitation provisions, including when Sevcik sent a bulk mailing to 4,239 households with income over $150,000. These announcements are used commonly by advisors who are attempting to move between firms and Aiken noted that they “arguably qualify an indirect attempt to solicit”. The decision is the second occasion in which Aiken has blocked Morgan Stanley’s bid for an injunction as Aiken dissolved a TRO in 2019 against a former Morgan Stanley advisor, David Sayler. Both Sevcik and Saylor had formed an inherited account agreement with a former Morgan Stanley advisor, James Maddux. After Maddux retired in 2017, the advisors agreed not to solicit Maddux’s former client’s for at least one year if they joined a new firm. 

Eccleston Law LLC represents investors and financial advisors nationwide in securities, employment, regulatory and disciplinary matters.

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