Jonathan P. Arfa, P.c. Attorney at Law
How We Can Help the Financial Industry & Wall Street, Attorney Servicing Westchester County and New York City
Legal Help with Employee Contracts
Legal Help with Separation Agreements
Legal Help with Discrimination Claims
Legal Help with Negotiation Strategies
Legal Help with Litigation
Legal Help for Financial Industry and Wall Street
Written by Jonathan P. Arfa, Fired, Laid Off or Pushed Out?

How We Can Help the Financial Industry & Wall Street

It may sound like a cliché, but nothing is like Wall Street and those who work in the senior ranks of America's financial institutions. The money is big and driven by the annual stock and option awards, and bonuses and other incentive compensation.

Financial market executives understand the arbitrage of negotiating up-front financial deals and guarantees and separation terms better than most. That's on a intellectual level. Like most executives who find themselves trying to traverse this process on their own, a skilled, outside voice and ear are invaluable. But, it better be someone who can clearly and succinctly articulate all the law that you need to know and likewise be someone who understands the language, tone, pace and drives of Wall Street.

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We understand that the name each broker, analyst or investment banker makes for herself is likely built upon "books of business", contacts, billings, relationships, and the like. Except in limited circumstances, the loss of employment in the financial community by senior employees is generally understood to reflect as much if not more -- upon the firm, the industry or the economy than the executive. When the bears arrive, the bloodletting is no secret.


The Guarantee

There are 4 classes of matters which occupy a great deal of this Firm's time representing Wall Street and financial industry insiders. First, involves the negotiating and drafting of initial employment "deals" -- often containing sign-on bonus, "guaranteed" minimum compensation payments over specified periods of time. Since these deals are not generally constructed as fixed term employment agreements, the details of the consequences which flow from termination of employment become critical to defining the financial rights and interests that you will have under each of those circumstances. These documents do not tend to be very long, but are riddled with nuance and legalese which require careful and skilled handling.

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Bonus Disputes

The second class are disputes involving failure to pay a bonus or other incentive compensation. Some of the legal issues surrounding these claims involve the length of time during the year you were employed; performance (both personal andcomparative); and whether the bonus is formularized or discretionary. Many executives who work on Wall Street or in the financial industry expect that the largest share of their annual compensation will be paid to them in the form of a year - end bonus or other type of incentive compensation. While base salary is not insignificant, it does not drive the overall compensation package. Thus, when an executive is disappointed with the size of a bonus she is paid, it likely also means that total annual compensation fell well short of expectations. Pursuing bonus claims requires experience.

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Unpaid Compensation Claims

The third special class involves claims of unpaid benefits. These claims can involve loss of unvested stock, options or other benefits; miscalculated commissions or other types of compensation which has not been paid and withheld earnings pursuant to the provisions of various benefit plans which you then forfeit because you leave your firm. Many such benefit and compensation plans are quite complex and require experience with these types of plan documents and the skill to synthesize the claim into a manageable form.

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Discrimination Claims

Finally, The Arfa Firm is involved in disputes involving claims of discrimination in the workplace. Whether the claim is one of race, sex, age or religion discrimination or a claim involving sexual harassment, these claims are quite personal. Both for you and for the accused.

that a reasoned business judgment can be exercised as to the best course to follow. It is clear that not every legal right requires vindication. Our clients are sophisticated enough to evaluate the upside and downsides of litigation in pursuit of a discrimination claim and the potential risks to their career and prospective employability. The ability to provide the roadmap so that you can analyze your way through these issues requires a serious understanding of Wall Street and the unique issues which financial employees face.

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Most Wall Street bankers, and brokers and others employed in the financial community must be licensed and registered with a "SRO" -- Self Regulatory Organization -- in order to work in the industry. As part of the employment process, you likely signed a "U-4" agreement which requires you to submit most employment related disputes to Arbitration. You have given up your right to have those claims adjudicated in a court of law. One exception to that rule may involve claims of discrimination; under those circumstances, you may also have the right to proceed with your claim in a court of law. Experience with these very different types of tribunals is invaluable in assisting you decide how to proceed.

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Copyright © 2014 Jonathan P. Arfa, P.C. Attorney at Law