Merrill Lynch Goes To Court To Stop The Herd Thinning

Last month we reported that Merrill Lynch had lost a big team of senior bankers to Deutsche Bank, including former Merrill treasuer Eric Heaton. Now Bank of America is fighting back by taking Deutsche Bank to court for raiding Merrill and running off with valuable investment bankers.

The complaint was filed in New York state court yesterday. According to Bloomberg, here are the details.

  • The investment banking group hired by DB generated tens of millions of dollars for Merrill each year.
  • Heaton, who’s brother David also went to DB, violated a non-compete agreement and failed to give a required six-month notice, according to the lawsuit.
  • DB’s raid was planned “many months in advance.” All 12 employees quit on the same day.
  • The suit includes claims that Deutsche Bank interfered with employee contracts and misappropriated trade secrets.

We have no serious doubt that the mass defection was planned in advance. That is the way these things are done. Bank of America must be desperate to staunch the outflow of senior Merrillistas. This lawsuit is about more than DB–it’s a warning shot to other banks and its own employees.

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