Ex-Nomura Bond Trader Wins Dismissal Case After $40 Million Loss

  • Lombardo sued Nomura for unfair dismissal after 2015 firing
  • Nomura said Lombardo helped cause bank’s biggest-ever loss

A Nomura Holdings Inc. bond salesman, who was fired when a series of soured deals with an obscure client caused the bank’s biggest-ever single trading loss, said a London court ruled that he’d been unfairly dismissed.

Giovanni Lombardo, who sued the Tokyo-based lender after his 2015 sacking, declined to comment in a telephone interview beyond confirming the unfair dismissal verdict. He’d claimed in the lawsuit that bosses at Nomura made him a scapegoat when failed trades with Invexstar Capital Management Ltd. triggered eventual losses of more than $40 million. The bank is “disappointed” with the judgment, a spokeswoman in London said.

Lombardo is one of more than half a dozen traders and sales people to sue their former employers in recent months, claiming they were made scapegoats by banks as they rushed to appease regulators. They have had mixed success, often winning rulings on technicalities because banks didn’t follow proper employment law, but failing to get substantial compensation.

“We are disappointed that in its decision the employment tribunal did not wholly concur with Nomura’s view,” said Aoife Reynolds, the bank’s spokeswoman in London. “However, the judgment has found that Mr. Lombardo’s conduct significantly contributed to his dismissal. We will review in detail the employment tribunal’s written decision whilst we consider our options.”

The case was part of the fallout from the demise of Invexstar, an obscure bond-trading firm that inflicted losses of around 120 million pounds ($157 million) on some of the world’s biggest banks when it failed in 2015 after about a year’s trading. The collapse -- and the track record of the company’s manager and sole employee, Alberto Statti -- raised questions over how lenders manage their risks.

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