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Wealth Management Firms Face Antitrust Class Action Suit

 |  February 26, 2024

In a proposed class action lawsuit filed in a Kansas federal court, a consortium of asset and wealth management firms, including Mariner Wealth and American Century Investments, has been accused of violating antitrust laws by engaging in a conspiracy to restrict employee recruitment and hiring practices. The lawsuit, initiated by two former employees of TortoiseEcofin Investments, one of the defendants, alleges that the companies collaborated in implementing “no-poach” agreements, effectively stifling competition and depressing wages within the industry.

The plaintiffs contend that by entering into these agreements, the companies aimed to maintain a stranglehold on the labor market, preventing employees from freely seeking opportunities at competing firms. Additionally named in the lawsuit are Montage Investments and 1248 Holdings LLC, formerly known as Bicknell Family Holding Company.

Describing the case as a matter concerning the fundamental rights of employees to access free and fair job markets, the lawsuit underscores the broader implications of such antitrust practices within the investment sector.

Responding to the allegations, American Century Investments issued a statement affirming its commitment to fair competition and regulatory compliance. The company asserted its intention to address the claims through the legal process.

At the time of reporting, legal representatives for the plaintiffs had not provided a comment on the matter.

The lawsuit reflects a broader trend of civil litigation across various industries, including aerospace engineering, shipbuilding, and high fashion, where similar allegations of collusion to suppress employee mobility and maintain artificially low wages have surfaced in recent years. As the case unfolds, it is poised to shed light on the complexities surrounding competition and labor practices within the asset and wealth management sector.

Source: Reuters