Credit Suisse continues feeling the fallout from its decision to exit the U.S. wealth management business in 2015, with a Finra arbitration panel ordering the Swiss-based firm to pay around $1.6 million to two brokers who claimed the company withheld payment from them, the industry’s self-regulator says.
In 2017, Richard Joseph DellaRusso and Mark Lawrence Sullivan — who both joined UBS in 2015, according to BrokerCheck — sought monetary damages of no less than $2.5 million, which they claimed Credit Suisse owed them in unpaid earned deferred compensation, plus lawyers’ fees and prejudgement interest of 9% per annum as well as the amendment of their Form U-5s, according to an award document published by Finra.
The two brokers levels allegations against Credit Suisse including breach of contract, fraud ans unjust enrichment, the regulator says.
In response, Credit Suisse claimed breach of contract on the part of the brokers, originally seeking repayment of outstanding principle balance and loan arrears of around $681,000 from both of them, but later amending its claim to a little over $10,000, according to the award document.
Last week, the Finra arbitrators ordered Credit Suisse to pay DellaRusso $818,903.00 in compensatory damages plus interest at the rate of 4% per annum from October 21, 2015 through the date of the award, as well as $185,929.00 in lawyers’ fees, the regulator says. The panel also ordered the company to pay Sullivan $416,914.00 in compensatory damages and the same rate of interest, as well as another $185,929.00 in lawyers’ fees, according to the award document.
The arbitrators also recommended that the termination explanation on Form U5s for both brokers be changed to “Terminated without cause,” Finra says.
Back in 2015, Credit Suisse had reached an agreement with Wells Fargo to take in its U.S.-based financial advisors but within weeks many of them jumped ship for Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and UBS, which took in 70 of the 300 relationship managers who were supposed to end up at Wells Fargo.
Several UBS brokers have gone after Credit Suisse for deferred compensation, with arbitrators usually ruling in their favor. However, last year the company was able to convince a judge to dismiss a $300 million class action suit over deferred pay. Moreover, this September a Finra arbitration panel ruled that UBS owed Credit Suisse $9 million in compensatory damages tied to what Credit Suisse called a “raid of Credit Suisse employees and materials privy to Credit Suisse.”