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Former TIAA advisor accused of violating non-solicitation agreement

On Behalf of | Dec 22, 2021 | Firm Transition

A former advisor for the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America has been accused of violating a non-solicitation agreement he signed with the organization, according to Financial Advisor.

TIAA filed a request last week for a preliminary injunction against Erold Merko, a registered wealth management advisor. He was an employee in the association’s Southfield, Michigan office from 2012 until September 2021, when he departed to join Raymond James & Associates.

Under the non-solicitation agreement signed by Merko, TIAA said he was prohibited from soliciting its clients for a year upon leaving the firm. But since his departure, Merko allegedly reached out to multiple former TIAA clients, including sending them Thanksgiving cards with his new business card attached.

In its filing against Merko, the organization said it seeks an injunction to prevent him from transferring clients and their assets to Raymond James and “prevent irreparable harm to TIAA” until the matter could be adjudicated by FINRA at an arbitration hearing. TIAA said thus far Merko had diverted nearly $20 million in client assets to his new firm.

At the time of the Financial Advisor report, neither Merko nor his attorney had been reached for comment.

Financial professionals making a transition to new firm should obtain counsel from a qualified attorney to mitigate any risks of legal consequences. If you are looking to move from one firm to another, planning to go open up or join an RIA, looking to sell your firm or grow through acquisition or bringing on new advisors, the securities firm transition attorneys at Lewitas Hyman have the experience to guide you through the process to protect your interests. For more information, contact us at (888) 655 6002 or through our online contact form for a free consultation.