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Simmons Bank reaches settlement with former local VP

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Arkansas-based Simmons First National Corp. (Nasdaq: SFNC) reached a settlement in a lawsuit filed against a former local senior vice president who left the company to start his own business.

The suit against Missouri Trust & Investment Co. co-founder and President Tim Parrish was settled Aug. 31 and finalized Sept. 4, according to court documents provided by Parrish’s attorney, Brett Roubal of Baird Lightner Millsap PC.

In the suit, Simmons, dba Simmons Wealth Management, alleged Parrish violated nonsolicitation agreements by attempting to persuade customers and employees to switch with him to Missouri Trust while he still worked at Simmons. Those allegations were settled in June 2017, when Simmons was ordered to instruct its employees not to state Parrish was terminated for cause. 

Simmons last November claimed Parrish violated the terms of the June 2017 injunction, leading to further court proceedings that have been challenged by Parrish’s legal team.

Neither party admits wrongdoing in the latest settlement, which does not include damages.

The settlement stipulates Parrish must refrain from soliciting any of Simmons’ clients, customers or accounts for the “purposes of providing trust, fiduciary or investment management services” until Nov. 7. The clause will then be dissolved. Parrish agreed not to solicit Simmons’ clients in a June 2017 injunction that was tied to the first settlement related to charges of nonsolicitation agreement violations and breach of fiduciary duty.

In a statement provided to Springfield Business Journal, Parrish said the latest settlement speaks for itself.

“We are glad to finally have this matter resolved. I can now focus more of my attention on growing our business,” Parrish said in the statement.

Taylor, Stafford, Clithero & Harris LLP’s Warren Harris, who represented Simmons, also commented on the settlement.

“Obviously, I think that we reached a reasonable agreement ultimately and we’re glad to be able to put it to rest for the benefit of the client,” Harris said this morning.

Simmons’ suit against Parrish was filed in March 2017, four months before Missouri Trust received its state charter.

No other individuals involved in Missouri Trust are named in the latest settlement agreement, signed by Judge Jason Brown.

Parrish worked with Simmons as a senior vice president and trust development officer through March 7, 2017. He previously worked for nearly 18 years as senior vice president of Trust Company of the Ozarks, which Simmons purchased in 2015.

Parrish previously was ordered to pay Simmons $4,000 in a March court order.

Since then, Missouri Trust hired former Ollis/Akers/Arney President and General Counsel Richard Russell as its CEO to succeed Parrish. Parrish stayed on as president of the company, according to past SBJ reporting.

A call report filed with the Missouri Division of Finance shows that, as of Dec. 31, 2017, Missouri Trust had $2.6 million in assets and an $2.6 million in liabilities and equity capital. Equity capital liabilities made up $2.2 million of the total. Under fiduciary and related services, Missouri Trust reported $54.7 million in managed assets via 109 accounts by the end of 2017.

Parrish this morning said the company now manages more than $100 million in assets.

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