Dozens of former Credit Suisse advisers who have been fighting for their deferred compensation after leaving the bank last year scored a partial victory on Friday when the brokerage industry’s main regulator said member firms cannot make workers waive their rights to settle disputes in the regulator’s own arbitration forum.
The New York Times reports that the advisers had been forced by Credit Suisse to use two other arbitration services they didn’t want. Now the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority says members have the right to request arbitration at Finra “at any time and do not forfeit that right” by signing an agreement saying they must choose otherwise.
The notice comes four months after a group of the advisors sent a letter to Finra asking it to weigh in on the matter. Credit Suisse had required that disputes go through either the American Arbitration Association or JAMS (which was once the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service), instead of Finra, something lawyers for the advisers said put them at a disadvantage.
Many of the dozens of advisers that left Credit Suisse last year went to a Swiss wealth management rival, UBS, and others went to Morgan Stanley or other big banks, leaving behind what one lawyer estimates as hundreds of millions in accumulated deferred compensation that Credit Suisse said they forfeited because they left voluntarily.
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