Ex-Wells Fargo Broker Wins $750K, More Than Triple His Core Comp Claim
A former Wells Fargo Advisors broker in New York City won an award of $750,000 from a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel last week, well above the pure compensatory damages he requested.
Christopher John Tisi argued in the long-running case that he and his business partner Eric Hernandez were owed $220,844 in compensation plus additional unspecified money for damages to their reputation and to reflect Wells’ “unjust enrichment” from confiscating their deferred compensation, growth bonus and its ongoing revenue from their efforts, according to the arbitration award document.
The three arbitrators did not explain their decision, but people familiar with the case said that Tisi argued that he was effectively forced out after Wells allegedly shifted the role of private bank advisors from offering investment advice to more sales-oriented functions, and changed compensation to encourage the shift. In their initial claim filed in January 2014, Tisi and Hernandez alleged “fraudulent inducement based on material misrepresentations, omissions and lies” as well as “coercion” and “egregios regulatory violations.”
Tisi and Hernandez joined Wells in 2009 and 2005, respectively, as bank branch-based brokers but shifted to become advisors within its Wealth Brokerage Services unit. Hernandez withdrew from the arbitration last year after reaching a confidential settlement with Wells.
Tisi, who along with Hernandez now works at Morgan Stanley and who has been a broker for 17 years, declined to comment. Hernandez did not respond to a call for comment.
A Wells spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.
“Mr. Tisi, after a long battle, feels vindicated that the panel granted him compensatory damages,” said his lawyer, Michael Deutsch of Singer Deutsch in New York. “We feel the panel embraced the claims.”
The arbitrators denied Wells’ counterclaim for $208,000 allegedly owed on a promissory note signed in 2009, the year Tisi joined. They also ordered Wells to pick up the entire $27,000 bill for 24 hearing session and pre-hearing conference fees.
Tisi started his career in 1999 at Morgan Stanley in Purchase, New York, according to his BrokerCheck record. He shifted to NYLife Distributors in 2002 and also worked at BNY Investment Center before joining Wells in 2006, according to the Finra database.