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by Mike Caswell
BMO Nesbitt Burns Inc. has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia over the defection of its entire branch in the B.C. town of Cranbrook. The firm claims that a group of employees departed the branch and immediately began working for a competitor, Wellington-Altus Private Wealth Inc. The group used BMO's confidential information to solicit clients, attempting to have them switch firms.
The allegations are contained in a notice of claim that BMO filed at the Vancouver courthouse on April 1, 2021. The defendants are Gregory Sternig, Robert Klewchuk, Caroline Ferguson and Janine Ricketts, all former employees of BMO's Cranbrook branch. Also named as a defendant is Wellington-Altus, a Winnipeg brokerage with a handful of branches in B.C.
BMO complains that the four employees resigned as a group on March 12, 2021, and immediately began working for Wellington-Altus. According to BMO, their resignations were part of a move designed to make it very difficult for BMO to continue serving clients in the Cranbrook area. Wellington-Altus had sought the entirety of BMO's office as part of an effort to obtain as many accounts as it could. The nearest BMO branch to Cranbrook is hundreds of kilometres away.
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