Financial advisors who are going independent need to make sure that they aren't stepping on their former employer's toes, lest they find themselves embroiled in costly litigation, experts say.

D. Alexander Washington, president of the Washington Consulting Group in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., says that when he contracted with his prior employers -- major financial institutions -- they disclosed that all clients were the sole property of the institution and would remain with them should his contract be terminated for any reason.

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