Fidelity sues former rep, Merrill Lynch for soliciting clients

Fidelity claims Christopher Corcoran's conduct threatens approximately 200 client households and $528 million in AUM

Mar 5, 2018 @ 2:12 pm

By InvestmentNews

Fidelity Brokerage Services has sued a former broker, Christopher Corcoran, and his new employer, Merrill Lynch, seeking to stop what Fidelity claims is Mr. Corcoran's "continuing violation of his employee agreements" and his and Merrill's "misappropriation and misuse of Fidelity's trade secrets and unfair competition."

In a suit seeking injunctive relief filed in federal court in Houston, where Mr. Corcoran worked as a Fidelity broker, the firm noted that it needed such an order so that it can request an expedited arbitration of the matter by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.

Fidelity claims that Mr. Corcoran's conduct threatens approximately 200 Fidelity client households, representing in excess of $528 million in client assets under Fidelity management.

The filing states that on Dec. 15, Mr. Corcoran resigned from Fidelity and immediately joined a nearby office of Merrill Lynch. At the time he resigned, Fidelity said it reminded Mr. Corcoran of his legal obligation not to contact Fidelity customers, and sent a letter to him on January 20, 2018, again reminding him of his obligations and providing him with a copy of his employee agreement.

Afterward, Fidelity said that it began hearing reports from customers that Mr. Corcoran was calling them and soliciting them to transfer their accounts to Merrill Lynch. A Fidelity customer also provided Fidelity with a copy of a solicitation mailing received from Mr. Corcoran, the court document states.

Fidelity wants the court to require that Mr. Corcoran and Merrill Lynch return "any and all records and/or documents in any form, received or removed from Fidelity containing information pertaining to customers Mr. Corcoran served or whose names became known to him while in the employ of Fidelity."

It also wants any customer list or documents it terms "recreated" by Mr. Corcoran from memory or otherwise, including by using his memory to look up customer names in public sources, or otherwise using Fidelity's confidential and trade secret information concerning Fidelity's customers. Fidelity also seeks an order prohibiting further solicitation of Fidelity clients by Mr. Corcoran.

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