On Friday, dozens of former Credit Suisse advisers were victorious against the firm. The brokers had been fighting for their deferred compensation after leaving the bank last year. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) determined that member firms cannot make workers waive their rights to settle disputes in the regulator’s own arbitration forum. The advisers had previously been forced by Credit Suisse to use two other arbitration services they didn’t want. Now, FINRA claims that members have the right to request arbitration “at any time and do not forfeit that right” by signing an agreement saying they must choose otherwise. Before, Credit Suisse had required that disputes go through either the American Arbitration Association or JAMS (which was once the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service) instead of FINRA, which lawyers for the advisers claimed put them at a disadvantage. Many of the advisers switched to Morgan Stanley or UBS, leaving behind hundreds of millions in accumulated deferred compensation that Credit Suisse said they forfeited because they left voluntarily. Some of the advisers may begin filing arbitration claims at FINRA as early as next week.
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