A case brought by Oppenheimer & Co. failed to prove allegations that Citigroup Global Markets Inc. unlawfully raided its firm of nine high producing brokers, a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority panel has ruled.

FINRA’s dispute resolution came after almost eight years of consideration, beginning when Oppenheimer first filed the claim seeking $18.6 million in April 2003. The issue arose after Oppenheimer’s retail brokerage business was acquired by Fahnestock & Co. Inc. from Canadian Imperial Bank in 2002. That sparked a competition among firms like Citigroup, Bank of America, Bear Stearns and Paine Webber for Oppenheimer’s best producers, FINRA’s report said.

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