Ex-Edward Jones Advisor Tells Court: I Was Fired Because of My Age
Before he was fired on April 11, 2019, Omaha, Neb.- based James Loyet had worked as an advisor with Edward Jones since 2003. In a declaration filed before the United States District Court for the District of Nebraska, the 63-year old said he believes he was fired because of his age.
"I do not believe that a failure to meet expectations with respect to leadership was the true reason for my termination. Rather, I believe Plaintiff [Edward Jones] terminated my employment because of my age," reads the declaration.
Loyet's filing was in response to Edward Jones’ April 25 request seeking a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction against him. The firm’s request was denied at a hearing in Omaha on Monday but the judge left the door open for further requests.
“Edward Jones does not discriminate against our associates on any basis. Loyet’s employment was terminated based on a personnel matter, not because of age. The TRO proceeding was initiated because as Loyet left the firm, he removed information in violation of firm policy,” Edward Jones said in a statement to FA-IQ. The dispute will now play out in Finra arbitration, the company spokesperson said.
Sarah McGill, a partner at law firm Fraser Stryker who represents Loyet, did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
In his declaration, Loyet said prior to his firing and after he had been instrumental in hiring two new financial advisor trainees, he had faced multiple inquiries about any retirement plans he might have.
“Due to the inquiries and Plaintiff’s actions, I believed Plaintiff was requesting that I begin creating a Retirement Transition Plan due to my age, despite the fact that I had never expressly indicated any immediate intent to retire,” Loyet says in his declaration.
As a result, he says he began considering a retirement transition plan. Part of his plan was to identify which clients might be transitioned to which Edward Jones advisors. To that end, Loyet said around March he downloaded a summary document containing the names and certain other information of clients — but he is adamant his downloaded summary did not include client contact details.
On April 10, 2019 he printed another summary document containing no client contact information — although Loyet admits that this second time he “inadvertently printed a more detailed summary report that contained more information than I wished to review.”
Loyet insists he put the “inadvertent printout in a locked shred bin in the Edward Jones office” and does not have it in his possession. He had the summary printouts, which he’s now given to his attorneys to return to Edward Jones.
The very next day, April 11, Loyet flew to Edward Jones' headquarters in St. Louis to meet with management. However, instead of meeting about management issues in the Omaha offices, Loyet was fired, which he says in court documents came as a surprise.
“At no time either during or after the meeting on April 11, 2019 (at which my employment was terminated) did anyone from Edward Jones ask if I had in my possession any printouts or hard copies of any Edward Jones’ records or information. Had I been asked to return any such documents, I would have done so immediately,” it reads.
The company had alleged in its complaint that Loyet “intentionally collected Edward Jones trade secrets and took them with him to solicit Edward Jones’ clients and induce them to terminate their relationship with Edward Jones.”
Loyet’s filing clarifies that he is currently unemployed.
This is not the first time that Edward Jones has gone after former advisors, seeking restraining orders against them. As reported, the firm has been aggressive in pursuing legal action against brokers taking information with them when they exit.
The case continues in Finra arbitration.