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An Attorney’s Advice on Navigating Transition

A conversation with David Gehn, head of the Litigation Department at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole.


The acceleration of advisor movement, particularly to the independent space, and the proliferation of a hypercompliant culture within the walls of the big brokerages is keeping people like attorney David Gehn very busy these days.

As the head of the Litigation Department at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole, David has served a wide range of clients, yet it’s his concentration on the financial services market—captive advisors to the largest broker/dealers and registered investment advisors—that makes him well suited to discuss the intricacies of the transition process.

In this episode, David shares his experience in working with advisors through non-broker protocol moves, the challenges of terminations and other contractual matters that can arise even before you consider a move. In his conversation with Mindy, he discusses:

  • The challenges of the increasingly hypervigilant compliance culture that exists in the wirehouses—and how to make yourself “less vulnerable.”
  • The battle for control between advisors and their firms—and how to be sure you don’t get even more “locked in” to your firm.
  • The reality of non-protocol moves—and “what you need to do first” when considering a change.
  • The “three most feared letters” in a financial advisor’s lexicon—and the steps to take to avoid being slapped with a TRO.
  • The concerns over asset portability—and how “deep and meaningful” relationships with clients are key to a successful move.
  • The proliferation of terminations—and how to “prepare” if you think you’re in the crosshairs.

David says that a move is “eminently doable” regardless of protocol status or any post-employment restrictions you may have.

Whether you’re considering a move or not, this episode offers an array of advice for anyone living in a world where compliance takes the lead—and can make or break an advisor’s career.

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Mindy Diamond is president & CEO of Diamond Consultants in Morristown, N.J., a nationally recognized boutique search and consulting firm in the financial services industry.

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