Merrill Lynch has filed suit against five employees of rival Morgan Stanley in a Birmingham federal court. This came after the defection of these financial advisers from Merrill Lynch who reportedly were running a $216 million book of business for wealthy clients. Merrill Lynch sued its former employees last month, alleging they stole customer account information from their Birmingham office, quit their jobs and immediately began working in Birmingham for rival Morgan Stanley.
The quintet being sued is referred to in the complaint as the “Vise Team,” named after leader Stephen Vise, who was called a 30-year Merrill veteran and “high-performing financial advisor.” The suit alleges that the group plotted for weeks to make off with valuable customer information in violation of their employment agreements, with the idea of using it to benefit themselves and their new employer. Merrill Lynch says in the lawsuit that stolen account information is for customers with $216 million in assets whose business accounted for $830,000 in commissions in the previous 12 months. It is alleged in the complaint:
As a condition of their employment with Merrill Lynch, the Vise Team executed a number of agreements and attestations confirming the confidentiality of Merrill Lynch’s customer information. Vise Team is engaging in this conduct in an effort to gain an unfair advantage in soliciting Merrill Lynch customers to transfer their business to the Vise Team at Morgan Stanley.
This will be a most interesting lawsuit. It’s also very interesting to see how even those in Corporate America, who believe they have been wronged, like our judicial system. That’s certainly good to know. It’s just too bad these corporations don’t believe ordinary folks should have the same access to the system when they become victims of corporate wrongdoing or abuse.
Source: Birmingham News
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