Twenty-five years, no hint of any problems, then a rumor pulled the rug out from under him.

"I just spent the morning with that advisor," said Russell Gebhard, president of Sovereign Investment Group in Houston. "He was with a wirehouse, and there was a rumor he was looking around for another firm. The company mentioned a vague violation of policy and he was let go, unceremoniously. They walked him to the door."

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