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DOL: JPMorgan Retaliated Against FA Whistleblower

January 11, 2017

An agency of the Department of Labor has ruled that JPMorgan wrongfully terminated a financial advisor who went public about being pressured to sell the bank’s investment products, Bloomberg reports.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that JPMorgan retaliated against financial advisor Johnny Burris when it fired him in 2012, according to the news service.

Burris, who started as a Chase Private Client advisor in June 2010, spoke to the New York Times in 2012 about pressures to sell JPMorgan products to his elderly clients despite availability of more suitable investments, Bloomberg writes.

The OSHA alleges that a JPMorgan manager broke bank protocol when he made an oral customer complaint against Burris into a written one and forced Burris to include it on his employment record, according to the news service. The agency ordered the bank to pay Burris $164,000 in back wages and reputational damages and to expunge his U5 employment record, Bloomberg writes.

A JPMorgan spokeswoman tells the news service that Burris made the same allegations to a Finra panel that denied his claims. The bank plans to appeal the OSHA finding, she tells Bloomberg. Burris, meanwhile, tells the news service he’s dissatisfied with OSHA’s decision to limit the damages to the bank. OSHA didn’t respond to Bloomberg’s request for comment.

In December 2015, two of Burris’s former clients told the Times that JPMorgan manipulated them into signing complaints against him while they in fact had no issues with his services.

(Getty)

Meanwhile, Burris’s recorded conversations with bank supervisors pressuring him to sell JPMorgan mutual funds prompted the SEC to launch an investigation. That case contributed to a $100 million settlement over the company’s practice of marketing and selling clients its own products, people familiar with the negotiations told the Times at the time.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Bloomberg article cited in this story, click here.