When news broke this week about the more than $23.5 million claim that Wells Fargo Advisors won against Robert W. Baird & Co. for what it called a raid on its Wichita firm, some people immediately wondered about another Wichita securities firm deal.
Last year, 13 members of the Kirk Bahm Group within Morgan Stanley left to form 6 Meridian.
Morgan Stanley has not filed anything against 6 Meridian or its partners.
“No, we have not,” says branch manager Greg Ek.
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Nor does he think it will.
“I kind of doubt it,” he says. “There’s a lot of difference … between the two situations.”
He says the industry has a protocol for when advisers leave one firm for another and that if advisers follow the steps outlined in the protocol, firms generally don’t take action against each other.
“To my knowledge, when those guys left us, they followed the protocol as they were required to do so, and that’s why there hasn’t been any action on our part,” Ek says.
Still, the group took more than $2.2 billion worth of its clients’ investments with it – an amount that generally attracts more than mere attention.
“We had good counsel,” says 6 Meridian CEO Margaret Dechant. “We followed the rules.”
Dechant thinks one difference may be that those who left Morgan Stanley were all part of one team.
“We had worked together as a team for 10 years.”
She says if they had taken others with them, there could have been a different reaction.
“Raiding is a vague term in our industry,” Dechant says.
“I feel bad for them that they got caught up in that,” she says of the Baird advisers. “They’re good people.”
Ek, like many, was surprised at the Wells Fargo claim.
“I had no idea that Wells and Baird were going at each other on that deal, but my goodness, what an award. That was shocking.”