Republican presidential candidate and businessman Vivek Ramaswamy is facing two lawsuits from former employees who say that when they worked at the company he cofounded, Strive Asset Management, they were aggressively pressured into violating securities laws, according to Bloomberg, which first reported these lawsuits Friday morning.
Republican presidential candidate businessman Vivek Ramaswamy speaks at an event in St. Clair … [+]Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
Joyce Rosely—who filed a lawsuit Aug. 8 in New Jersey that names Ramaswamy, Strive Asset Management and cofounder Anson Frericks as defendants—alleges she was fired as co-head of institutional sales because she raised concerns about an executive making aggressive sexual advances toward a lower level staffer at the firm and about securities laws violations.
Rosely also claimed Ramaswamy and Frericks pressured her into using sales materials that promised customers future returns and allowing unregistered employees to make sales pitches to customers, which both constitute securities violations.
Additionally, Rosely allegedly complained about Ramaswamy’s social media posts, which, in her view, amounted to illegal securities sales.
Another lawsuit was filed in June by John Phillips, who said he was lured to Strive Asset Management from his previous JPMorgan job on false promises that the firm had good financing and that Ramaswamy, who promptly quit to run for president, was committed to the company.
Phillips alleged that Ramaswamy misrepresented Strive Asset Management’s finances to employees and investors, and that the company, like it allegedly did to Rosely, pressured him to violate securities laws.
Both employees were fired in March, with Phillips claiming he was fired without cause and Rosely—who was reportedly told she was fired as part of a company reorganization that sought to remove employees over the age of 40—claiming age discrimination in addition to being fired in retaliation for her complaints of misconduct.
A spokesperson for the company said Strive “intends to vigorously defend itself,” but otherwise declined to comment on the litigation.
Rosely said in the complaint that she reported the sexual harassment incidents to Frericks, who allegedly told her it was “none of his business.”
Christopher Lenzo, Rosely’s attorney, argued that Ramaswamy wasn’t a serious asset manager. He told Bloomberg that the firm “was founded, in retrospect, largely as a PR mechanism for the presidential campaign of Ramaswamy,” and “not a lot of thought was given to running it as an investment firm.”
Ramaswamy announced his candidacy for president in the Republican primary in February, citing his business acumen and accomplishments as reasons he should be the next president. Before his campaign, he founded the drug development company, Roivant, in 2014 and served as CEO until he stepped down in 2021. After that, he founded Strive Asset Management alongside Frerick with the express goal of creating an “anti-ESG” asset management firm, a public rebuke of the trend in Wall Street circles towards investing in companies that are more environmentally and socially responsible. As a presidential candidate, Ramaswamy is polling third in most averages after Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis, though he remains a distant third at the moment. Next week will see him take the debate stage alongside many of his campaign rivals in Wisconsin.
GOP Presidential Hopeful Ramaswamy Sued Over Strive’s Practices (Bloomberg)
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DeSantis Debate Strategy Memo Suggests That He Defend Trump, Attack Ramaswamy And Avoid Policy Talk (Forbes)