Wells Fargo accused a Florida lawyer and former in-house counsel for the agency with serving to a gaggle of Wells Fargo Advisors monetary advisors with greater than $1.2 billion in collective property beneath administration go away the agency and begin their very own impartial follow, the place he now works.
Wells Fargo filed a swimsuit in Ohio federal courtroom towards Steven Satter for his alleged position in serving to the advisors go away a Kenwood, Ohio department of the wirehouse. In line with Wells Fargo, the advisors left the agency to ascertain DayMark Wealth Companions, which was fashioned in March of this yr and positioned a couple of miles from Wells Fargo Advisors’ (WFA) Kenwood workplace.
“Wells Fargo seeks damages for hurt brought on by a former worker who has used the privileged and confidential info he gained as an organization lawyer to advise a competing agency in violation of his agreements, moral obligations, and firm coverage,” a Wells Fargo Advisors spokesperson stated concerning the swimsuit. “As an worker, he offered authorized counsel on behalf of Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA) to the identical group of advisors he now advises in competing with WFA.”
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Satter had been with Wells Fargo since 2008, and “was answerable for employment and litigation issues” in a area together with the Kenwood workplace. In line with WFA, Satter’s “sole perform” on the agency was to advise it on hiring practices, fiduciary responsibility claims and non-solicitation and contractual obligations.
In April of this yr, Satter reportedly instructed Wells Fargo he was “retiring,” however as a substitute labored to assist create DayMark, based on the grievance. Satter is among the group’s founding companions and its authorized counsel, based on an announcement of the RIA’s launch.
Wells Fargo believed the plot to go away the agency and located DayMark started in summer season 2021, with the group of advisors planning to solicit different WFA staff and shoppers to depart with them, together with Michael Quin, a market supervisor for WFA’s Ohio area who had a “longstanding shut relationship” with Satter.
As soon as Satter came upon concerning the plans of Quin and the others, he didn’t report them to Wells Fargo, and started utilizing the knowledge he gained at WFA to supply employment and litigation counsel to the DayMark staff, serving to the advisors to plan their departures from Wells Fargo.
A “DayMark” area title and web site have been created the identical day Satter introduced his plans to retire, based on the swimsuit. The seven advisors collectively resigned from Wells Fargo on June 6 and started instantly working at DayMark.
“Mr. Satter was in a singular place to make the most of his expertise and inside information of delicate WFA info – which he gained as WFA’s senior counsel – for the advantage of DayMark and the previous staff,” the swimsuit learn.
Wells Fargo argued it had opened FINRA arbitration proceedings towards the departed advisors, and stated it was “inevitable” that Satter would disclose Wells Fargo “commerce secrets and techniques, privileged, and confidential info” when providing recommendation to DayMark’s new enterprise.
Satter didn’t return a request for remark as of press time.
Wells Fargo is looking for an injunction for Satter in utilizing any confidential info gleaned from the wirehouse, in addition to compensatory and punitive damages.