Broker Protocol

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Mar 22, 2009 11:09 am

OK, so over the years I have my customers Name, address, phone #, e-mail, and ACCOUNT NUMBERS in an excell spreadsheet on my laptop. When I transfer excell files from my companies system, I use a thumb drive. MY firm put  the encryption software on my thumb drive and Laptop. So they know that I have account numbers. When I leave to go to another  Protocol firm... what do I do?

I assume I would let them "clean" my laptop and return it to me. And I would have to sign something swearing  'This is the list I am taking WITHOUT ACCOUNT NUMBERS'. But the argument could be made that I have them anyway, and am not following the Protocol.

What do I need to do to avoid a TRO?

Thank you

Mar 25, 2009 11:16 pm

leave the list with account numbers (thats actually required) and take a list without. You could create a new spreadsheet on laptop delete out the account numbers and then download that to a zip drive.



your new firm will help you craft the resignation letter with all the right language. your bom wont pursue it much further than that unless he is an a-hole.

Apr 7, 2009 2:52 pm
drysuit2:

OK, so over the years I have my customers Name, address, phone #, e-mail, and ACCOUNT NUMBERS in an excell spreadsheet on my laptop. When I transfer excell files from my companies system, I use a thumb drive. MY firm put  the encryption software on my thumb drive and Laptop. So they know that I have account numbers. When I leave to go to another  Protocol firm... what do I do?

I assume I would let them "clean" my laptop and return it to me. And I would have to sign something swearing  'This is the list I am taking WITHOUT ACCOUNT NUMBERS'. But the argument could be made that I have them anyway, and am not following the Protocol.

What do I need to do to avoid a TRO?

Thank you



If you want to be extra careful I suggest you take a hard copy of the client file without the account numbers and give them a copy with the resignation letter.  I am surprised they are letting you use your personal laptop, but you should have one of their techs delete all the information of your hard drive.  The confusion will be what is your personal and what is the firm's, so you may loose some personal information in the process.  Also have the tech clean the thumb drive.

Good Luck.

ash
www.FAfreedom.com - The Breakaway Experts
609-945-7100 x 101


Apr 7, 2009 3:03 pm

Does becoming an RIA-only avoid any of the broker protocols?

Apr 7, 2009 3:37 pm

B24 - nope. Freaking Jones came after me for "taking client files" (they were my wife's and my parents). You are still on the hook for non-solicit. Still on the hook for any training costs.

Apr 7, 2009 4:13 pm
Moraen:

B24 - nope. Freaking Jones came after me for "taking client files" (they were my wife's and my parents). You are still on the hook for non-solicit. Still on the hook for any training costs.



That is brutal... I cannot believe the they went after you for taking your own files.  I guess there is a lesson to be learned here.  Do not take anything besides what is defined in the Protocol.   Not worth the hassle.

ash

Apr 7, 2009 5:01 pm
Moraen:

B24 - nope. Freaking Jones came after me for "taking client files" (they were my wife's and my parents). You are still on the hook for non-solicit. Still on the hook for any training costs.

 
And how exactly did they know you had those files?
Apr 8, 2009 11:39 am

It is really interesting what firms will let advisors do (no offense) and then complain when they take info.   I am speaking to a wirehouse advisor, large producer, and he has his personal PC in his office.  This pc has all his customer contact information only and the firm knows this.  It is not connected to the firms network so he also keeps the information on the firms contact management database.  I am dreading the day he wants to leave with his pc.  Will difinetly need to get an attorney involved.

Although firms will do dumb things, they have deeper pockets so it is better to be cautious and not give them a reason to come after you.

Good Luck.

ash
www.FAfreedom.com - The Breakaway Experts
609-945-7100 x 101

Apr 8, 2009 11:05 pm
B24:
Moraen:

B24 - nope. Freaking Jones came after me for "taking client files" (they were my wife's and my parents). You are still on the hook for non-solicit. Still on the hook for any training costs.

 
And how exactly did they know you had those files?
 
They were up front in the BOA's desk.  I made my exit while she was on vacation.  I guess they couldn't "know" that I had them.  But I talked to my attorney who just said, "take 'em back - not a big deal". 
 
She now hates me (BOA) so my guess is she told them.
Apr 9, 2009 4:15 pm

Got it.  Since everything is now scanned and archived, I have virtually no hard files left in my office (other than current cases). 

Jan 7, 2010 4:04 pm

How do you find out if the firm you work for is part of broker protocol?  Is there a list of participating firms somewhere?

Jan 7, 2010 4:42 pm

I have not found a list, but just because they are not on the list does not mean that the protocol does not apply.  It has become industry standard and I think there have been a few cases where the judge enforced the protocol even though the firm was not.  This was good for the advisor in the case.

Good Luck
www.FAfreedom.com

Jan 7, 2010 4:47 pm

Thanks for the prompt response.  So if I understand it correctly - its become industry standard so it doesn't matter if they have signed or not?  Does broker protocol apply to SMA firms as well (like Fisher, et al) or just wirehouses and bd's? 

Jan 7, 2010 5:02 pm

Are you a SMA manager/advisor?  If so you should be SEC registered.  I think you should assume that the protocol applies.  One method that theoretically works to get all the information you want out is to:

-  Print out all your information you want to take with you.  Make sure you get cost basis.
-  Copy anything you need.
-  Have a meeting with the client and give them all of THEIR stuff. 

According to the protocol you can only take name, address, telephone and email.  If the client decides to move with you, ask them for THEIR information that you neatly compiled for them months ago.

Good Luck.
ash

Jan 7, 2010 5:06 pm
Ash:

Are you a SMA manager/advisor?  If so you should be SEC registered.  I think you should assume that the protocol applies.  One method that theoretically works to get all the information you want out is to:

-  Print out all your information you want to take with you.  Make sure you get cost basis.
-  Copy anything you need.
-  Have a meeting with the client and give them all of THEIR stuff. 

According to the protocol you can only take name, address, telephone and email.  If the client decides to move with you, ask them for THEIR information that you neatly compiled for them months ago.

Good Luck.
ash

 
That's the ticket.
Jan 7, 2010 5:22 pm

That's a great idea re: meeting and providing THEIR info...

 
I work for a SMA firm.  I have my RIA in order to sell and manage the client relationships.  As far as the client is concerned, I am "_____".  Yes the manager is an SEC Registered Advisor - assets WELL over $25m.  If the manager is an SEC registered advisor then the broker protocol applies and I shouldn't need to worry about my non-compete?
Jan 7, 2010 5:41 pm

You should worry about a non-compete, so look at your hiring agreement with an attorney.  In my non-attorney opinion, if there is no non-compete then the protocol would apply as a default.  For instance the non-compete at Goldman is so tight that the protocol does not apply to their advisors.  Also Goldman will spend tons of money to defend their assets, so many advisors don't mess with GS.

good luck.
ash

Jan 8, 2010 11:51 am

I would recommend to everyone that they maintain their own data base of client information.  I use Act for Financial Professionals.  I migrated from Brokers Ally years ago and I have every bit of data you could ever imagine on my clients.  I have it all...account #'s, allocations, managers, all personal info, familys info...everything, you name it...I got it.  I started with Shearson Leahman Brothers in 92 and one of the old guys that jumped firms probably 200 times suggested doing that...so I did.  When I bailed from Smith Barney (throught the mergers) in '05 I had it all.  I didn't need files or anything.  I did however maintain a copy of Act on a thumb drive (backed up daily) just in case management confiscated the laptop (if they got wind of my move).  Landed at MS with everything I needed.  No one at MS had a problem with me using a personal laptop and I was in a big regional branch.  When I bailed from MS, again...I had it all.  Never a problem with anything.  Spend the money on ACT and maintain your own data base. 

Jan 8, 2010 12:54 pm
ex-morganguy:

I would recommend to everyone that they maintain their own data base of client information.  I use Act for Financial Professionals.  I migrated from Brokers Ally years ago and I have every bit of data you could ever imagine on my clients.  I have it all...account #'s, allocations, managers, all personal info, familys info...everything, you name it...I got it.  I started with Shearson Leahman Brothers in 92 and one of the old guys that jumped firms probably 200 times suggested doing that...so I did.  When I bailed from Smith Barney (throught the mergers) in '05 I had it all.  I didn't need files or anything.  I did however maintain a copy of Act on a thumb drive (backed up daily) just in case management confiscated the laptop (if they got wind of my move).  Landed at MS with everything I needed.  No one at MS had a problem with me using a personal laptop and I was in a big regional branch.  When I bailed from MS, again...I had it all.  Never a problem with anything.  Spend the money on ACT and maintain your own data base. 



Just make sure they don't lock out the USB ports on the computer.

Jan 15, 2010 7:10 am

You can add your RIA Firm to the protocol if you wish.  This way, you would leave one "protocol" member firm for another.  I agree with the posts here -- you MUST follow and adhere to the requirements of the protocol word for word.  You don't want to start a new venture and day 1 be hit with legal complications (real bummer!)


As far as joining the protocol is concerned, if you call my office I'll be happy to provide you with some details.  888-579-8640