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Judge Orders Big Payout from Ameriprise to Terminated Broker

September 13, 2018

A Massachusetts federal judge has ruled in favor of a former Ameriprise Financial broker, ordering the firm to pay her $675,000 for terminating her, according to Law360.com

U.S. District Judge Douglas Woodlock upheld a previous arbitration panel decision to award Cheryle Anne Brady for termination without cause, the legal news website reports. The judge rejected Ameriprise’s argument that the panel must have excluded the broker’s admission that she had covered for her assistant by lying to compliance officers, Law360.com writes.

Starting on June 20, 2016, Brady’s sales assistant Brian Noyes allegedly made several trades without consulting with the clients first, according to the legal news website. Brady learned of the trades and told Noyes to fix it, and when Ameriprise’s compliance department contacted her three days later about the trades, Brady said she had talked to the clients and directed Noyes to do the trades, Law360.com reports.

She then told her assistant manager that it wasn’t true, according to the website.

Ameriprise fired her Sept. 7, 2016 and submitted a report to Finra stating Brady’s termination was due to “violations including unauthorized trading and use of discretion in non-discretionary accounts,” Law360.com writes. The arbitration panel ordered the firm to change the wording to, “termination without cause,” according to the website.

Brady settled with Finra following its investigation of the unauthorized trades, admitting to making false statements to compliance, Law360.com writes. Ameriprise’s separate investigation, meanwhile, allegedly concluded Brady told Noyes to make the unauthorized trades and maintained that position in its request to vacate the award, the website writes.

"Given the lack of clear and convincing evidence for the contention that fraudulent activity procured the arbitral award, this is not a proper ground for vacatur,” Woodlock wrote in the order cited by Law360.com.

However, the judge reversed some of the original award, no longer requiring Ameriprise to cover Brady’s lawyer fees of $80,000, according to the website.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the Law360 article cited in this story, click here.