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Former Barclays broker loses arbitration case, $221K clawback

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A former Barclays broker accused the company of violations of labor law, breach of contract and retaliation, yet wound up owing the firm a $221,000 clawback.

Sylvia Gort sought more than $1 million in damages, lost pay and fees, according to a copy of the decision last week by a FINRA arbitration panel in Atlanta. She filed in January 2016. The company hit her with a promissory note claim 12 days later.

The two parties agreed to combine the filings into one case, with both sides denying the other’s allegations. The three-member panel dismissed all of Gort’s claims and found her liable for $171,428 in damages, $50,000 in attorney fees and interest on both sums in the April 7 decision.

A Barclays spokesman and the attorney who represented the firm declined to discuss the case.

Stocks and Puerto Rican bonds are the focus of many cases among clients, advisers and firms.
March 10

Gort, reached by phone at her current post in Morgan Stanley’s Atlanta office, also declined an interview. The attorney who represented her did not respond to a phone call and email Wednesday.

The substance of her case against the company was not immediately clear. Gort left Barclays in July 2015 after more than six years in the firm’s Atlanta office, according to FINRA BrokerCheck.

Roughly 80 of the firm’s U.S. wealth management unit’s 180 advisers exited the firm that year, between the announcement of its acquisition by Stifel and the closing of the sale. Barclays also won a $461,000 arbitration judgment against another former broker late last month.

Gort’s $1 million claim included punitive damages, liquidated damages for the company’s “willful violation” of New York state labor laws, $126,000 for performance-based earnings, $110,000 for a variable award in the third quarter of 2015 and $65,000 for attorney fees.

The panel awarded Barclays the full clawback the company requested, following four hearing sessions in Atlanta last month. Companies won back all of the damages they sought in 88% of promissory note cases that reached hearings in 2015, according to researcher and mediator Dana Pescosolido.

Barclays has not clawed back funds from all of its former advisers, however. A federal judge last month vacated a $1 million FINRA arbitration judgment against fellow former Atlanta-based Barclays broker Tom Pair. The arbitration panel did not have the authority to order the clawback, the judge ruled.

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