Deutsche Bank Sues HPM Partners Over Wealth Management Moves

(Bloomberg) -- Deutsche BankAG sued to block some of its former wealth-management employees from joining competitor HPM Partners LLC, including two who claim they were forced out after being pressured to sell products that weren’t good for their clients.

The bank accused HPM, a New York-based investment adviser, of inducing more than a dozen members of its asset and wealth- management division to leave “en masse” and “to bring with them DB’s most valuable key clients,” according to a complaint filed yesterday in Manhattan state court. The hirings violated a non-solicitation agreement and previous settlement over HPM’s recruitment of Deutsche Bank employees in 2012, the bank said.

“The unlawful actions by HPM and the employee defendants could best be described as an economic coup d’etat, which seeks to obtain DB’s critical client base as its spoils,” Deutsche Bank said in the complaint.

Benjamin Pace and Lawrence Weissman, who both resigned May 16 and were named in the lawsuit, filed a counter-suit in Manhattan state court claiming they were compelled to leave and pressured to invest clients’ money in the bank’s high-margin, proprietary products, which weren’t in their customers’ best interest.

Pace, a frequent commentator on business television who had worked at the bank for about two decades, was Deutsche Bank’s chief investment officer for wealth management in the Americas. Weissman was a head of portfolio consulting for the bank and reported to Pace.

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