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.
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