David T. Harmon, a Member of the law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A. and Co-Chair of the firm’s Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits Group, was recently quoted in an article entitled “JPM Sues Advisors Who Left to Launch Indie Shop” by Danielle Verbrigghe in the November 9 issue of FundFire, a leading news service for professionals in the institutional and high-net-worth asset management industry.
The article discusses yet another case involving the protections of the industry’s agreement called the Protocol for Broker Recruiting. J.P. Morgan was recently granted a temporary restraining order as it pursues an arbitration case against seven advisors who left to launch an independent shop with LPL Financial. J.P. Morgan claims the advisors violated their agreements and obligations by their conduct before and after resigning claiming breach of contract, misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of loyalty, conversion and unfair competition, and other claims.
J.P. Morgan is no stranger to pursuing claims against advisors who have left its private bank and other division not covered under the Protocol for Broker Recruiting. Harmon told FundFire that advisors leaving a firm, or a division of a firm, that isn’t a signatory to the Protocol, can’t avail themselves of its protections. He notes “If you don’t have Protocol protection, you have to take it up a couple notches in terms of how careful you’re going to be.” Harmon also says in order to avoid legal trouble when leaving a non-protocol signatory firm, advisors must adhere to their prior agreements, and work with the company they are joining, and legal counsel, to determine what’s permissible and what’s impermissible.
Harmon focuses his practice on the areas of executive compensation, employment and business law. He represents senior-level employees of both public and private companies in the negotiation of their employment packages and all associated agreements, whether at the commencement of the employment relationship or at termination. Harmon’s successful negotiation of employment and severance packages for clients includes employment and post-employment compensation, confidentiality, non-compete, non-solicitation, and garden leave covenants, the Protocol for Broker Recruiting, change of control provisions, and benefits and protections within the structures and strategies for those packages. His representation also includes providing advice and counsel to employers in the negotiation of employment and severance packages with their employees, the design of human resources compliance programs, including employee policy manuals, and counseling and training concerning implementation of those policies. In 2012, Harmon launched his blog Transitions in Employment, which focuses on developments in executive compensation and employment law.
Harmon is a member of the Business Law and Labor & Employment Sections of the New York State and American Bar Associations, and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Wall Street Technology Association. He received his J.D. from Syracuse University College of Law and his B.A. from Tufts University.