Three financial advisors are facing a lawsuit over allegations they improperly solicited clients from their former employer, according to ThinkAdvisor.
David Wheatley, Timothy O’Shea, and William McDonald are the subject of a complaint filed in federal court in Connecticut by Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America. The three wealth management advisors, who worked for TIAA in its Connecticut offices, were accused of soliciting clients to follow them to the new firm they launched recently called Tidewater Wealth Management.
The complaint accuses Wheatley, O’Shea and McDonald of breach of contract, breach of their duty to loyalty and unfair competition.
TIAA alleged that while they were still employees there and prior to giving notice of their departure, the three advisors contacted certain clients of the firm about moving to their new venture. The complaint said this violated an agreement the advisors had signed with TIAA that included non-solicitation covenants. The employment agreement also barred them from interfering with TIAA’s client relationships. Wheatley, O’Shea and McDonald managed clients with over $2 billion in assets with TIAA, according to the complaint.
TIAA is seeking injunctive relief, along with compensatory and/or liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees and other costs, and punitive damages. The three advisors did not immediately respond to a request for comment, ThinkAdvisor reported.
Financial professionals who are considering leaving or have left a firm will often have post-employment obligations, and failing to consider these obligations can result in litigation. The Chicago securities firm transition attorneys at Lewitas Hyman have years of experience advising financial firms and advisors on various types of employment issues. So if you are in need of counsel on a financial services employment matter, contact us at (312) 291-4600 or through our online contact form.