A former Merrill Lynch advisor team said they felt the firm wronged them by terminating them, according to their attorney.

Veteran advisors Stephen Brown and James Goetz signed on with Stifel on Monday. The team managed $2.5 billion in client assets while at Merrill Lynch and was courted by a number of firms prior to landing at Stifel. The advisors were let go after Merrill Lynch accused them of allegedly violating firm policies.

Their attorney, Thomas B. Lewis, said were fired for “what we believe was not terminable reasons.”

According to FINRA BrokerCheck filings, Brown was let go because of “conduct related to not disclosing outside business activities and participation in private securities transactions involving clients.” Goetz’s alleged offense was similar – his detailed report on BrokerCheck also says he was “not forthcoming during an internal review.”

Lewis said that the termination of Brown and Goetz had a “chilling effect.” He said that the firm’s decision to “take this kind of action against two long-term employees sends a strong message to advisors at Merrill Lynch.”

Both advisors had long time careers at Merrill Lynch -- Brown is a 23-year veteran, according to FINRA records. Goetz was with the wirehouse for 16 years. As to whether their former clients with Merrill Lynch would follow the team, Lewis said they “had a strong bond over the years, and I’m confident they will support them.” 

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