Thursday, October 21, 2010

Another Award Against a Firm For Reneging Compensation

Maybe the investment banks will learn that you cannot unilaterally decide not to pay their employees? Another FINRA arbitration panel has just awarded an investment banker, who alleged Barclays used the collapse of former employer Lehman Brothers to seek to renege on a compensation agreement, over $700,000 in compensation. The Panel also ordered Barclay's to pay the entire amount of hearing session fees for the arbitration, and interest.

Just last week a FINRA arbitration panel awarded two Merrill Lynch brokers nearly $1.2 million dollars for allegations that Merrill reneged on its written policy regarding payment of deferred compensation. The brokers left as a result of the merger with Bank of America, and alleged that they were entitled to their deferred compensation. The Panel apparently agreed. Our post on the case is here.

These cases are good news for employees who have been denied compensation from the investment banks in 2008. As far too many financial professionals are aware, many firms fired employees at the end of 2008 in order to avoid paying bonuses, or in order to collect the balance on outstanding promissory notes. Other firms forced brokers to repay significant portions of their notes years ahead of time or face termination, and others simply decided not to honor their commitments to their employees.

We are representing financial professionals in a number of these cases, in some cases to obtain the compensation they were entitled to from their old firms, and in others to obtain damages from the firms for wrongful termination. Time and time again we hear similar stories from brokers and other professionals regarding flagrent mistreatment by some of the investment banks, including trumped-up termination charges, along with dirty U-5s. The firms do not seem to care in the least that they are denying compensation to their own employees, harming their families and in many instances, destroying careers.

Ultimately, the firm does not get away with such conduct, but the employees need to commence arbitration proceedings to recover that which they were entitled to. Isn't it time for these firms to act like responsible corporate citizens and to stop trying to balance the books by reneging on their agreements with their own employees?

The award is available at the FINRA web site - Whalen vs. Barclays Capital

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