JPMorgan Chase & Co. sued to have one of its former financial advisors found in contempt after he allegedly suggested the bank overcharged clients as he tried to lure them to join him at Morgan Stanley.
Salvatore Alesia violated a previous court order prohibiting such conduct, JPMorgan Chase said in papers filed Monday in Manhattan state court.
Alesia worked for JPMorgan Chase at its Melville, New York, office until his "abrupt resignation" on March 27, the bank said in its petition. The former investment employee then immediately joined a Melville office of Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan said.
Morgan Stanley spokeswoman Christy Jockle declined to comment. Lauren Ryan, a spokeswoman for JPMorgan Chase, said she didn’t have an immediate comment. Alesia couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
Alesia said in an earlier legal dispute over his departure that he quit after JPMorgan Chase warned him he was at risk of being fired, citing concerns about his productivity.
“If JPMorgan believes that my performance was so unsatisfactory that I should have faced termination, JPMorgan should not be able to prevent me from continuing to work at my new employer,” Alesia said in March.
JPMorgan Securities is a signatory to a decade-old financial industry accord called “The Protocol for Broker Recruiting,” which allows advisors to leave one firm for another and take basic client information, including names, contact details and account types, Alesia said.
Earning a base salary of $250,000 and a "substantial" bonus, Alesia was bound by a separate employment agreement not to solicit former clients for a year after leaving his position, according to the bank. The bank said it also obtained a court order barring him from soliciting former clients after bringing him to arbitration.
Not only did he violate the agreement, Alesia sent a news article to the former clients indicating they "may not be aware of all the fees they are charged," the bank said. He also lied in an e-mail to a former client on Dec. 8 by "implying that JPMorgan charges its clients “‘hidden’ fees,” the bank said in its the petition.