Former Cetera Broker Obtained $3M in Wrongful Termination Damages

A three-person panel of arbitrators in Orlando, Fla., ordered the Cetera Financial division of Cetera Advisors to pay $3 million in damages Thursday to a former broker with the company who alleged Cetera had it. wrongfully dismissed in 2019.

In a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration dispute, Gerald Fasanella also asserted: breach of contract, implied contract, and duty of good faith and fair dealing; defamation; defamation per se; tortious interference with a business relationship and contract; and violation of FINRA and other industry rules.

In her statement, Fasanella sought, among other things, unspecified compensatory damages, damages for lost earnings and benefits, including future earnings and benefits, and punitive damages.

At FINRA arbitration hearing, he sought damages ranging from $1.5 million to $3.6 million, an undetermined amount of punitive damages, $10,000 in expert witness fees and striking out the Notice of Termination of Form U5 that Cetera filed against him in 2019.

Cetera had asked the arbitral committee to dismiss the claim in its entirety and award him legal fees.

The arbitration panel decided that Cetera was liable for $3 million in damages, as well as $10,000 in expert witness fees sought by Fasanella. He also ordered the firm to reimburse Fasanella $375 for the non-refundable portion of the filing fee he paid to FINRA’s dispute resolution services.

Additionally, the panel recommended striking out Cetera’s reason for termination and explanation of termination in Form U5 from Fasanella, who said he “was terminated after clients alleged that the adviser performed transactions on their accounts without their permission,” according to its report on FINRA. BrokerCheck website.

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