Get your story straight. There's nothing more damaging than having something unexpected popping up on the U5 and one must take that into account. Make sure the managers you are speaking with know that you are interviewing with firms and that your departure will be quick and imminent. An offer has to be made in a timely manner. Moreover, don't leave any stones unturned!
Don't bring up thoughts of suing your firm to the perspective employer. Some people are so angry about the injustice that has been done them that it's all they can talk about. It is crucial to appear optimistic and display a "time to move on" attitude and not one of revenge.
If you hear footsteps, listen harder. If you think the writing may be on the wall it probably is, so start hoofing it! Understand that nobody's bottom line is more important than the firm's reputation and when new management comes in your job could be at risk, especially if your business mix doesn't match their ideal.
Take all information that you are allowed to take about your clients but nothing more. Make sure you have all your clients' cell phone numbers and that they have your cell phone number. Remove anything of personal nature from your office area. Worst case scenario and you are asked to leave, you probably don't want your secretary or a random compliance person packing up your stuff.
If management asks you to meet for an internal investigation review, ask to have your attorney present. In Harvey's case the firm said no, but it serves as a subtle indication to management that you are prepared to fight it out and are not going to be taken down easily. If you haven't been maintaining your personal notes, now is the time to do so. Keep them with you night and day as they may prove a life saver if your case goes into litigation. Moreover, ask for a copy of your personnel file and give it to the attorney.
Know that anywhere you go is reportable. If you have decided to resign and 'park' your license, know that it must be reported and explained to the new firm as well. All too many times people decide this is their best option and then don't report it to the new hiring firm. It results in you getting in major trouble with regulators for not disclosing key information. It's best to avoid this tactic all together.
It doesn't matter how much business you are doing these days. You are expendable. What does matter is that you see the writing on the wall and recognize that it says 'get out and get out now.
Terminations on U4s are not easily explained and ultimately will decrease your street value, so it's best to find a new home before chaos ensues. In the case of Harvey, it decreased his upfront package by 20% or $200,000. Let Harvey's loss be your lesson.
Carri Degenhardt-Burke runs Degenhardt Consulting in
Jersey City, N.J. For further information, call
201-395-0222 or visit www.degenhardtconsulting.com.