A former star broker for UBS Financial Services Inc. who was repeatedly called a “bitch” by her boss won a $1.6 million discrimination arbitration award last month.
According to InvestmentNews.com, the broker, Chrisine Carona, worked for UBS in Boston from March 2009 through July 2017 and currently is employed by Morgan Stanley. She was the top performing female adviser for UBS during that time period, ranking among the firm’s top 10% worldwide, and by the time she left produced annual revenue of about $2.1 million.
The arbitrator found that UBS and the supervisor, James Ducey, retaliated against Mr. Carona after she had complained to the UBS human resources department that she was being discriminated against based on her gender. She also complained she was not receiving her fair share of client accounts of advisers who had left the firm.
Interesting note: the arbitration was not held at FINRA, it was conducted at JAMS, which is a choice in many of the employment documents we have reviewed from UBS. Brokers often want to have their cases heard away from FINRA when a wirehouse is involved. That desire comes from an undeserved belief that FINRA arbitrators do not want to enter large awards against large firms, as those firms are the ones who are most often involved in arbitrations, and hence a source of work for the arbitrators.
In my decades of representing parties in FINRA arbitrations, I do not believe this to be the case, and have witnessed arbitrators granting large damages to investors in cases involving large brokerage firms. In fact, I once obtained an award of over 100% of my client’s losses, PLUS $900,000 in punitive damages and attorneys fees – in New York, against a wirehouse.
Mark Astarita is a nationally recognized securities attorney, who represents investors, financial professionals and firms in securities litigation, arbitration and regulatory matters, including SEC and FINRA investigations and enforcement proceedings.
He is a partner in the national securities law firm Sallah Astarita & Cox, LLC, and the founder of The Securities Law Home Page - SECLaw.com, which was one of the first legal topic sites on the Internet. It went online in 1995 and is updated daily with news, commentary and securities law related links.