JPMorgan FX Salesman Wins Dismissal Case in Latest Court Triumph

  • Patrice Ktorza claimed he lost millions in pay from dismissal
  • Ktorza could be awarded up to $104,000 for successful claim

A JPMorgan Chase & Co. currency salesman became the latest banker to claim victory against his former employer after being fired in the wake of the foreign-exchange manipulation scandal, with a London tribunal ruling he was unfairly dismissed.

Patrice Ktorza, 43, a former executive director at the U.S. bank, won his claim after a four-day hearing in June, according to a copy of the judgment provided to Bloomberg Friday. The court also said no deductions would be made from any award to Ktorza, unlike other recent cases where cash payments were cut because of the traders’ conduct.

Ktorza was suspended in November 2014 for partially filling a trade, a practice the bank stopped salespeople from doing after a review of its business in the wake of the foreign-exchange manipulation scandal. Banks "short fill" or "partial fill" an order when they’re unable to fulfill the total value of a client’s request at the required rate. JPMorgan banned salespeople from short filling in an effort to prevent them from taking risks.

"The tribunal is critical of the investigation process inasmuch as the claimant was never interviewed in an investigatory interview in connection with this trade," the court said in the ruling. The change in practice "seems to have been a sudden change rather than as the respondent would have the tribunal accept an ‘evolving landscape.”’

The ruling did note though that in light of the wider currency manipulation investigations at the time of the trade "it would have been a brave decision not to dismiss the claimant in that climate." Seven banks, including JPMorgan, were fined about $10 billion by global authorities for currency market manipulation in 2014 and 2015.

Ktorza, who is French, is the latest in a long line of bankers to be successful in the U.K. employment courts in the wake of the foreign-exchange scandal. Three former Citigroup Inc. currency traders have won their cases against the bank in recent months, with others from firms including Barclays awaiting judgments.

"After such a very long period of waiting and suffering personally at home, I am very relieved that my name and reputation are now completely and officially cleared," Ktorza said in an e-mailed statement. A spokesman for JPMorgan in London declined to comment.

‘Tossed Overboard’

Ktorza’s lawyer, Daphne Romney, told the court in June her client was "tossed overboard in an attempt to make JPMorgan look clean." Ktorza said his suspension left him anxious and isolated and eventually cost him 2 million pounds ($2.6 million) in lost pay. He made 290,000 pounds a year before his suspension in addition to an annual bonus of $1 million.

Still, the courtroom success won’t go very far in recouping his lost wages. Compensation for an unfair dismissal claim like Ktorza’s is capped at about 80,000 pounds.

Winnings are only uncapped if claimants can prove they were victims of discrimination, or were fired for whistle-blowing. Regardless of a pay-out, a successful ruling can allow a person to remove misconduct charges from their regulatory record.

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