Wells Fargo ordered to pay $1.4 million to former advisor in defamation case

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2022 | Firm Transition

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority ruled in favor of a former Wells Fargo advisor who filed a defamation claim against the firm, Financial Advisor reports.

A panel of FINRA arbitrators ordered Wells Fargo to pay a total of $1.43 million in damages to Aaron T. Olson, who worked for the company from March 2019 to August 2020 in its Charlotte, North Carolina office.

Olson alleged that after he was terminated, Wells Fargo filed information on his U5 form that was vindictive and defamatory, harming his career prospects. Wells Fargo filed a counterclaim alleging that Olson took client information in violation of the firm’s trade secrets and non-solicitation agreements.

The three-member FINRA arbitration panel sided with Olson, concluding that the comments on his amended U5 form were indeed vindictive and defamatory, causing harm to his reputation and career as a financial advisor. The panel also said Wells Fargo failed to follow FINRA’s filing requirements and guidelines in the amended U5, and acted inconsistently with other takings of customer information by other terminated advisors.

Wells Fargo was ordered to pay $700,000 in compensatory damages, $700,000 in fraud claim charges and $400,000 in punitive damages. The company’s promissory note to Olson of over $367,000 was subtracted from the total award.

If you have reason to believe you may be, or if you have already been, terminated by your firm, you should immediately seek experienced counsel since the termination could result in a Form U5 filing that may impact your ability to obtain employment elsewhere. The attorneys at Lewitas Hyman blend industry and regulatory experience when representative financial professionals in Form U5 disputes and other related concerns. If you are concerned that you may be, or if you already have been, terminated from your firm, or if you believe you have inaccurate information on your Form U5, we invite you to contact us at (312) 291-4600 or through our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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