Brokerage firms settle legal skirmish

NEW YORK: Rival brokerage firms Charles Schwab and TD Waterhouse have settled a lawsuit by Schwab accusing Waterhouse of using deceptive and misleading advertising.

NEW YORK: Rival brokerage firms Charles Schwab and TD Waterhouse have settled a lawsuit by Schwab accusing Waterhouse of using deceptive and misleading advertising.

In the settlement, announced May 25, Waterhouse agreed to "discontinue the advertisements challenged by Schwab" and to apologize for the ones "which may have created negative impressions about the quality of Schwab's customer service."

The ads in question had included a tagline that seemed to position Schwab as a "higher-priced broker" like Merrill Lynch. Schwab said that that characterization was false, and filed suit in March.

The companies issued a joint press release announcing the resolution of the case. Neither would disclose whether there was a monetary element to the settlement.

Greg Gable, Charles Schwab's head of PR, declined to provide any additional comments.

Kevin Denino, manager of media relations for TD Waterhouse, said, "Coming to a prompt resolution was a result of us wanting to move forward with our businesses without being distracted with expensive litigation."

Denino said that while Schwab's name would be pulled from Waterhouse's ads, "We don't know? as of now" whether the settlement would necessitate an entirely new marketing or advertising campaign for the brokerage.

Shortly after the suit was filed, Denino told PRWeek it was "pretty much meritless."

Neither firm worked with an outside PR agency in connection with the suit.

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