A St. Louis complex manager who left Morgan Stanley Smith Barney for Wells Fargo Advisors last week is facing a lawsuit from his former employer that could hinder his ability to recruit advisers in his new position.

The lawsuit, industry recruiters said, serves as a warning to the manager that it isn't giving up without a fight. "Managers move to competitors all the time without complying with their non-competes, and the firms typically don't come after them," said Bill Willis, a recruiter with Willis Consulting. "Morgan Stanley is just trying to put up a show of arms to make a point."

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