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FINRA orders advisor to pay nearly $2.6 million for soliciting her former clients

On Behalf of | Jun 5, 2024 | FINRA Compliance

An advisor who sold her practice to a father and son team has been penalized by Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitrators for trying to solicit her former clients, AdvisorHub reports.

The three-member FINRA panel ruled that Nicole Sennett is liable for $2,557,000 in compensatory damages to Scott A. Brantingson, and his son, Scott M. Brantingson, as well as to the firm they founded, Monocacy Wealth Partners based in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Monocacy is affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services Inc.

The Brantingsons and Monocracy asserted that Sennett violated the purchase agreement by pursuing former clients, and in June 2023 they filed a statement of claim against her that included accusations of breach of contract, misrepresentation, defamation and tortious interference with contract, misappropriation of trade secrets.

Besides unspecified damages and disgorgement of revenue received from poached accounts, and interest and fees, they asked to be cleared of owing Sennett money or anything else related to the purchase agreement and related agreements. They also sought a declaratory judgment that Raymond James Financial Services Inc. should pay them all monies withheld relating to the accounts at issue.

They had further sought permanent injunction against Sennett for violating the agreement and an order that she turn over and delete copies of business and customers’ information in her possession.

Sennett denied violating the purchase agreement and in a counterclaim contended it was the Brantingsons who had broken the agreement by refusing to allow her to review the books and records, which she said she was entitled to inspect.

But the FINRA arbitrators ruled decisively on the side of the Brantingsons, saying they did not owe Sennett anything.  Along with the compensatory damages, they granted an injunction barring Sennett from soliciting any customers listed in the asset purchase agreement and from discussing or disparaging Monocacy or its founders.  She is also barred from giving any financial advice, or recommending any financial advisor to any listed client, or accepting as a client any listed client, including when the listed client initiates the contact.

Sennett did not return a request for comment sent through LinkedIn, AdvisorHub reported.

Sennett joined the financial services industry in 2005, registering with Merrill Lynch, and moved to Raymond James Financial Services in 2018, according to BrokerCheck.

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