An Attorney’s Advice on Navigating Transition—with David Gehn, Head of the Litigation Department at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole

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Mindy DiamondA conversation with David Gehn, Head of the Litigation Department at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole

The acceleration of advisor movement, particularly to the independent space, and the proliferation of a hyper-compliant culture within the walls of the big brokerages is keeping people like attorney David Gehn very busy these days.

Mindy Diamond Podcast | David Gehn, Head of the Litigation Department at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole

David Gehn, Head of the Litigation Department at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole

As the Head of the Litigation Department at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole, David has served a wide range of clients, yet it’s his concentration on the financial services market – captive advisors to the largest broker dealers and registered investment advisors – that makes him well-suited to discuss the intricacies of the transition process.

In this episode, David shares his experience in working with advisors through non-Protocol moves, the challenges of terminations and other contractual matters that can arise even before you consider a move. In his conversation with Mindy, he discusses:

  • The challenges of the increasingly hyper-vigilant compliance culture that exists in the wirehouses—and how to make yourself “less vulnerable.”
  • The battle for control between advisors and their firms—and how to be sure you don’t get even more “locked in” to your firm.
  • The reality of non-Protocol moves—and “what you need to do first” when considering a change.
  • The “3 most feared letters” in a financial advisor’s lexicon—and the steps to take to avoid being slapped with a TRO.
  • The concerns over asset portability—and how “deep and meaningful” relationships with clients are key to a successful move.
  • The proliferation of terminations—and how to “prepare” if you think you’re in the crosshairs.

David says that a move is “eminently doable” regardless of Protocol status or any post-employment restrictions you may have.

Whether you’re considering a move or not, this episode offers an array of advice for anyone living in a world where compliance takes the lead—and can make or break an advisor’s career.



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David Gehn:

David A. Gehn, Head of the Litigation Department at Ellenoff Grossman & Schole, has been representing clients ranging from the largest broker-dealers and registered investment advisors to individuals in large and complex civil, criminal, and regulatory investigations and litigation, as well as in contractual and transitional matters for the last 25 years. Mr. Gehn also represents professional athletes and was formerly a certified NFL Contract Advisor.

Since 1992, Mr. Gehn has concentrated his practice in the financial services industry. Early in his career, among other things, Mr. Gehn filed over 10 cases against the self-professed Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort, and Stratton Oakmont, all of which settled for millions of dollars in the aggregate. Mr. Gehn also filed other well-publicized cases in the 1990’s, including a civil action against Marion “Suge” Knight, former owner of Death Row Records, based upon an assault at a Death Row Christmas party.

From 1998 to 2000, Mr. Gehn was General Counsel of Bluestone Capital, a broker-dealer, and its online trading division,

Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Gehn was a Member of Gusrae Kaplan Nusbaum, PLLC for over 16 years. While there, he was one of three attorneys who filed a federal class action in the Southern District of New York against, Fairfield Greenwich Limited, et al., the largest Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities “feeder fund”, which recently settled for an amount in excess of $250 million.

From 2014-2016, Gusrae Kaplan was recognized by BTI Consulting Group as an “honor roll” member on its list of the nation’s 50 “most feared” litigation law firms.

Overall, Mr. Gehn has over 85 reported FINRA arbitration awards, which include 7 matters in which he has obtained expungement for his clients. He also litigates in federal and state courts, with several matters resulting in published opinions. Additionally, he has represented financial professionals in multiple SEC, FINRA, and CFP investigations and enforcement proceedings.

Mr. Gehn also advises financial professionals concerning the transition of their financial practice, FINRA inquiries, non-solicit/non-compete issues, and Protocol compliance. He is familiar with the traditional, independent, RIA, and bank brokerage models.

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