Former PaineWebber Manager Wins $460,000 Part of award was unvested deferred compensation, attorney claims.
An arbitration panel in Boston awarded the former manager of PaineWebber's Peabody, Mass., branch almost $460,000 in a wrongful termination claim against the firm.
In September, an NYSE panel ordered PaineWebber to pay former branch manager Ronald Stephens more than $447,000 in damages, plus some costs and fees.
The award document issued by arbitrators does not specify how they calculated the damages. However, Stephens' lawyer, Bill Jacobson of Kaplan & Jacobson in Providence, R.I., says he believes it includes almost $307,000 that Stephens sought in lost income, plus $90,000 in unvested contributions to PaineWebber's PartnerPlus deferred compensation plan. The award does not include Stephens' own contributions to the plan, which PaineWebber returned to him without a challenge.
PartnerPlus allows brokers to defer yearly bonuses, plus voluntary contributions of up to half the bonus amount. Managers' bonuses are paid in stock, Jacobson says.
The $447,000 also includes about $51,000 in unvested restricted stock the firm had awarded to Stephens, Jacobson says. The stock was valued by arbitrators at the price it hit before PaineWebber merged with UBS Warburg, he says.
Stephens managed the Peabody branch for five years. He claimed he was fired Dec. 30, 1998, after he reprimanded a top producer about an alleged harassment problem in the branch. The $447,000 in damages was assessed jointly against PaineWebber and Stephens' former regional boss at PaineWebber, James Pierce. Jacobson claims Pierce has since been promoted.
PaineWebber spokesperson Paul Marrone had no comment on the decision.
It's not surprising that the latest TRO rule proposal is held up at the SEC.
A prior final rule proposal that was generally favored by brokers and regional firms was killed two years ago under pressure from American Express Financial Advisors (AEFA) and Merrill Lynch. That proposal was never filed with the SEC, despite being the result of several years of debate. A new NASDR subcommittee drafted the new proposal during 1999 and filed it with the SEC this past spring.
But opponents of TROs have blasted the latest proposal. Comment letters to the SEC from the National Association of Investment Professionals, as well as regional brokerages Sutro & Co., Raymond James, Legg Mason, Ferris Baker Watts, Janney Montgomery and Morgan Keegan, all criticize the proposed final rule. In all, 13 commenters oppose the rule.
AEFA is alone in urging passage of the rule.
In the December 2000 "Seminars Big and Small" story, Page 55, Larry Klein was misidentified as being a "broker" with TD Waterhouse. In fact, Klein is an independent adviser who uses the custodial and execution services of Waterhouse.
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