Private equity firm Lightyear Capital has agreed not to hire any of the top 43 executives at Cetera Financial Group until September 26, 2016.
The hands-off agreement is part of a proposed settlement of a raiding case filed last month by RCS Capital Corporation (RCAP) and its Cetera affiliate against Lightyear and two former Cetera executives. The claim alleged that the private equity firm was poaching Cetera executives for the AIG Advisor Group.
Lightyear is in the process of buying the Advisor Group of broker-dealers, which compete with the Cetera firms.
RCAP is in the midst of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan, and had contended that the potential loss of top executives could threaten the restructuring process.
The settlement also covers the two former Cetera executives, Cynthia Hamel, who was a senior vice president of strategic operations for Cetera, and Susan Theder, formerly chief operating officer. Both of the women recently resigned from Cetera and began consulting with a Lightyear affiliate in anticipation of joining the Advisor Group.
Under terms of the agreement, Hamel and Theder will be allowed to continue their consulting work, but they cannot work for the Advisor Group or compete with the Cetera firms until either September 4, 2016, or the effective date of the RCAP bankruptcy plan, whichever comes later. At the latest, they will be free to join Advisor Group by December 4, 2016.
Details of the settlement, which the parties reached March 11, were disclosed in court papers filed Thursday in the U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware where RCAP is proceeding with its restructuring plan.
The deal still has to be approved by the court.
The agreement “protects [RCAP’s] business interests and … reorganization process during [a] critical time,” RCAP said in a court filing.
Mason Allen, RCAP general counsel, and Joe Kuo, a Cetera spokesman, declined further comment.