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Ameriprise sues ex-broker over $700K bonus clawback

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Ameriprise Financial is suing one of its former advisors, asking a federal court to force him to pay the firm more than $700,000 over an arbitration award he lost earlier this year.

It’s the latest attempt by a brokerage firm to demand repayment of promissory notes from former advisors.

Ameriprise has been an aggressive recruiter in recent years, picking off talent from competitors for its independent and employee broker-dealer units.Former Edward Jones advisor Matthew Beaver was one such recruit. Amerprise hired the Clayton, Missouri-based advisor in 2015, according to FINRA BrokerCheck records. It terminated his employment Jan. 3, 2018, according to Ameriprise’s lawsuit, which did not specify the reason it severed ties with its former employee.

A month later, Ameriprise filed claims in FINRA arbitration against Beaver, seeking repayment of two promissory notes. The firm says the notes became due the moment his employment at the company ended. Beaver denied the firm’s allegations and countered with his own claims, asking arbitrators for $1.2 million in damages for wrongful termination.

Beaver also asked the arbitration panel to expunge his U5 regulatory record, alleging that Ameriprise’s entry in his U5 caused Beaver “to suffer great financial loss and to be unable to find comparable employment in the financial industry,” according to a copy of the arbitration award.

On March 13, the three arbitrators gave each side a win, granting Beaver’s expungement request because of “the defamatory nature of the information,” according to a copy of the award, which did not include a copy of said information.

But the arbitrators also awarded more than $700,000 covering both the original promissory notes as well as damages and fees to Ameriprise, including interest on the unpaid arbitration awards.

The arbitrators based their ruling “on the defamatory nature of the information.”
January 22

“To date, Beaver has not complied with the Award and has failed to pay the amount due thereunder,” the firm says in its lawsuit, which was filed in a federal court in Missouri.

Beaver started the case with an attorney, but represented himself from December 2019 onwards, according to the FINRA award. He declined to comment on case.

“We believe this case speaks for itself,” an Ameriprise spokeswoman said in a statement. “FINRA sided with Ameriprise and awarded the full outstanding loan balance. Additionally, a FINRA arbitration panel denied the claims of wrongful termination.”

In May, FINRA suspended Beaver from the industry for failing to comply with the arbitration award. He is not currently registered with a broker-dealer.

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