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FINRA panel orders Robert W. Baird to pay $23M to Wells Fargo Advisors

A Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel has ordered Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. to pay about $23.9 million to Wells Fargo Clearing Services LLC for allegedly raiding its office in Wichita, Kan.

The case involved Robert W. Baird recruiting six financial advisers from Wells Fargo to establish its own office in Wichita in June 2015. Wells Fargo accused Robert W. Baird of raiding its office and engaging in unfair competition, breach of contract, violation of FINRA rules and unjust enrichment.

The panel ordered Robert W. Baird to pay about $10.9 million in compensatory damages, approximately $10.9 million in punitive damages, $1.8 million in attorneys' fees and $30,131 in costs.

Don Barry, who joined Robert W. Baird as managing director, was ordered to pay $542,632 in compensatory damages. Brian Docking was told to pay $161,314, Jill Docking was ordered to pay $181,112 and Kevin McWhorter is required to pay $114,942 in compensatory damages. The four had worked at Wells Fargo but switched to Robert W. Baird after it moved into the area.