Edward Jones wants TRO against broker in Indiana who jumped ship last month

With $113 million in client assets, John Kerr bolted from Jones to Thurston Financial

Sep 9, 2019 @ 1:57 pm

By Bruce Kelly

In a dispute over clients, Edward Jones on Friday filed a complaint against a broker who bolted the firm last month and is seeking a temporary restraining order from a federal judge.

The adviser, John Kerr, who managed $113 million and left Edward Jones at the start of August and began working at Thurston Springer Financial, according to the firm's complaint, which was filed in a U.S. district court in Indianapolis.

As of last month, $2 million in client assets had moved from Edward Jones accounts to those at Thurston Springer.

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Before his departure, Mr. Kerr secretly and in violation of his contract, printed, copied and removed customer files and confidential records, according to the complaint, and then solicited those clients, which allegedly violated his work contract with Edward Jones.

The complaint alleges breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets and other claims standard is such matters.

Mr. Kerr declined to comment when reached by phone on Monday.

"Edward Jones takes seriously its obligation to protect the confidentiality of client information," said company spokesman John Boul. "It is improper for Kerr to use information he improperly took from Edward Jones to solicit clients."

Edward Jones is not part of an industry agreement called the protocol for broker recruiting. That agreement makes it easier for a broker or adviser to leave one broker-dealer and start working at another because it allows him to bring a limited amount of client information with him.

Brokers and adviser are generally fearful of being targets of such TRO litigation by the firm they are leaving.

Mr. Kerr worked for Edward Jones for 21 years, starting in July 1998 in an office in Westfield, Ind., according to the firm's complaint. He faced "disciplinary issues" at the firm and was supposed to go to the firm's headquarters in St. Louis at the start of August, according to the complaint, which does not state the nature of these issues.

Mr. Kerr "knew that it was likely that he would be terminated from his position during his meeting in St. Louis because he made comments that he would find employment at another competitor firm," according to the complaint. He resigned before the firm could terminate his employment, according to the claim.

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