According to the Investment News, Wedbush Securities Inc. was ordered to pay a former municipal sales trader Stephen Kelleher $3.5 million for failing to give him years worth of incentive-based compensation he was owed.
A three-person Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. panel found the firm’s “morally reprehensible failure and refusal to compensate” Mr. Kelleher in a timely fashion broke California’s labor laws. A “poorly written and ambiguous employment contract” was partly to blame, the Finra panel said.
Mr. Kelleher, who joined Wedbush in 2007, had requested $4.2 million in bonus compensation he was due. Mr. Kelleher resigned days after the arbitration case finished up and he is not working right now, the lawyer said.
Wedbush plans to appeal the ruling, its attorney, John Stetson, said Friday. He would not comment on the case.
Wedbush had been paying Mr. Kelleher’s salary, but not the incentive comp that he was due, Mr. Kelleher’s attorney said. The arbitration panel also blamed “a corporate management structure” that required Edward W. Wedbush, the majority shareholder in the firm, to approve bonus pay to senior employees. That approval “was routinely withheld,” the Finra panel wrote.
Another Wedbush employee testified that he also went for two years without receiving the incentive-based compensation due him, Mr. Kelleher’s attorney said.
This information, which is publicly available, has been provided by The White Law Group. To speak with a securities attorney with the firm, please contact The White Law Group’s Chicago office at 312/238-9650.
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