Leaving Wirehouse Still Under Contract

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Dec 8, 2008 10:09 pm

I am thinking of leaving my wirehouse while still under contract.  I am 3 1/2 years into a 5 year deal.  Two questions:

1) The note is forgiven annually.  Since I am roughly 1/2 way into my 4th full year, will they prorate this payment?
2) I have heard some have negotiated down what they actually owe. 
 
Any advice?
Dec 9, 2008 2:34 pm

it depends,

are you going a new firm?
how has your production been while you were there
 
you can negotiate what is remaining on the deal. ive seen the amount owed reduced 20 - 60%.  if you're going to a new firm they may increase your deal to payoff your current firm.
 
Good Luck!
 
 
Dec 9, 2008 7:58 pm

Two person team with T12 of about $1.8mm (my guess is 20 to 30% down next 12 mo).  Going to another wirehouse.  1st quintile and 2nd quintile producers.  Almost all fee based.

Dec 10, 2008 5:10 pm

"going to another wirehouse" Doesn't the new firm know you're still under contract?

 
With that kind of production who cares??????
Dec 10, 2008 5:19 pm

Everything is negotiable. Understand that what i'm about to tell you is not legal advice but based on experience. First, the advice to hire an attorney is excellent and you should heed it. For a couple of grand an experienced lawyer can really smooth the rails.

 
That said: Your new-go to firm should be asking you for a document dealing with the unpaid portion of the note. Not resolving this issue upfront would be unusual. The note gives your current firm leverage to seek a TRO. They could demand that the note be paid off before anything moves. Ugly, and TROs are mostly a thing of the past in a paid off note move. But so it goes. Negotiate the unpaid note or have your attorney do it for you. Furture revenue doesn't matter, nor does the once a year anniversary date. Understand, they will tell you it matters in spades, but in the end, it's all negotiable. 50 cents on the dollar is a decent deal but all's fair in love and war.
 
Understandably you and your new firm may not want you to negotiate your way out the front door of your current firm. Still, considering the size of your practice, it should be considered. If you do go the front door route make sure you are ready to hit the exit as soon as they are informed. This again, should be handled by your attorney. Ultimately, your hope is that because you are acting professionally, they will act in kind. But you've got to be ready if they lock you out of your office while you're talking to the BOM.  If you pick door number two, also known as the rear exit, your and your firm should have a written and signed plan as to how your note will be handled. It will be stressful enough even with a plan. But having it, knowing all the bases are covered, and who will pay for what,  will really help in the sanity department. As well as the pocketbook.
 
Though the rear door approach is a time tested strategy, give the front door some consideration.  But don't attempt it without legal representation. Good luck!!!
 
 
Dec 10, 2008 8:16 pm

Thanks for the help.  We have a meeting with a securities lawyer next week.  I definitely am sensitive to the broker protocol (moved once before).  We will likely have to give some langauge in our resignation letter of our intent to pay some agreed upon portion of our remaining deal note.  Thanks again.  Sanity is what I need desperately.  I guess we all do in this business at the moment.   Thanks again.

Dec 10, 2008 10:13 pm
broker000714:

I am thinking of leaving my wirehouse while still under contract.  I am 3 1/2 years into a 5 year deal.  Two questions:

1) The note is forgiven annually.  Since I am roughly 1/2 way into my 4th full year, will they prorate this payment?
2) I have heard some have negotiated down what they actually owe. 
 
Any advice?



1- The language in your current contract likely states that the 4th year is not forgiven until you complete it in its entirety.  So, they will not prorate it when their attorneys send you a letter requesting/demanding the money back.

2- If you were leaving the business, they would likely negotiate it.......depending on your current financial situation.........But, since you are going elsewhere, your new firm needs to be aware of the existing agreement, and they can either help take care of it, or let you take care of it on your own.  I think the existing firm would be less willing to forgive a portion of the debt if you are getting a check to go to a new firm.

It really depends on what defense you could have that caused you to leave..........These contracts are handled by arbitration, so the existing firm may want to settle, but if they feel they have an airtight case to get it all, then they will be less willing to settle..........If there are any issues you could bring up (unfulfilled promises, etc...), you have a better chance at negotiating it down.

Good Luck...........