A Miami broker, formerly with Citigroup, won a nearly $4 million award in a recent FINRA arbitration case regarding wrongful termination. Christian Gherardi “worked at Smith Barney and other Citigroup units in Miami from the start of his career in 1996 until he was fired in December 2015.” Gherardi alleged that Citi fired him because it was afraid he would leave the firm and it wanted to retain his $200 million book of business.
Moreover, Citi was allegedly worried that Gherardi would leave because of a moratorium that had been imposed on the bank which prevented brokers from pursuing new business until the bank got some things in order with its anti-money-laundering program. “Citi managers alleged that Gherardi had physically threatened other brokers who were trying to poach his accounts.”1 Mr. Gherardi claimed the incidents were distorted by Citi in an effort to terminate him and take his book of business. Gherardi was unable to take the majority of his substantial book of business with him to his new firm.
The award included “$3.45 million in compensatory damages for wrongful termination, $150,000 for ‘lost quarter’ trail fees and almost $396,000 for deferred compensation.”1 Ironically, Cosgrove Law Group, LLC has obtained awards and settlements of about the same amount for other defamed registered representatives.
The arbitration award can be viewed here.
-Maria T. Eggert