Buddy Brand and three of his broker colleagues at the Florence, S.C., office of Wachovia Securities already had one foot out the door when Wachovia fired them in June 2008. Together they’d been planning to open an office in Florence for competitor Stifel Nicolaus & Co. But Wachovia sought to derail that plan, filing an arbitration claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority the very next day, alleging that the group had breached their respective contracts with Wachovia, had taken confidential information, and were soliciting existing Wachovia clients.
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