Morgan Stanley Fends Off Former Florida Manager’s $4-Mln Wrongful Termination Claim
A veteran branch manager in Florida who had spent almost three decades with Morgan Stanley and predecessor firms failed to persuade Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitrators that the wirehouse should pay more than $4 million in damages based on his wrongful termination, defamation and breach of contract claims.
The panel also denied Robert P. McCabe, Jr.’s bid to remove from his record a reference to his discharge.
McCabe, who is now a branch manager at Oppenheimer & Co.’s Palm Beach Gardens office, also lost his bid to expunge the firing from his record, according to the award issued by a three-person panel on September 14.
McCabe’s lawyer, Jonathan B. Butler at Ciklin Lubitz, did not respond to a request for comment, and McCabe did not respond to requests sent through LinkedIn and Oppenheimer spokespeople.
McCabe had initially sought $5 million in damages tied to Morgan Stanley’s alleged cancellation and “misappropriation” of compensation and retirement benefits and $15 million in punitive damages. He amended his claims during the hearing to $330,367 for cancelled deferred pay, $2 million for lost earnings, $1 million for reputational damages tied to the U5 filing and $1 million for punitive damages, according to the award.
In its answer, Morgan Stanley denied the allegations and defenses, according to the Finra award, which did not provide additional details of the firm’s arguments. A Morgan Stanley spokeswoman did not immediately return a request for comment.
McCabe, who was an “On Wall Street” magazine top 100 branch manager from 2010 to 2012, had overseen 60 brokers at Morgan Stanley at the time of his departure, according to an online bio. His departure from Morgan Stanley came amid a turbulent time for the firm’s field leadership in South Florida, including the departure 18 months earlier of the complex manager and the brokerage’s pairing of two of its four Boca Raton offices.
McCabe began his career as a registered securities rep in 1984, with Buckingham Securities, and also worked at L.F. Rothschild and Morgan Stanley predecessors Dean Witter Reynolds, Lehman Brothers and Smith Barney, according to BrokerCheck. After leaving Morgan Stanley, he worked for Greenwich, Connecticut-based Fieldpoint Private Securities, a firm founded in 2008 by a number of prominent ex-wealth executives, for two years prior to joining Oppenheimer.
When he joined Oppenheimer, its managers extolled McCabe’s virtue.
“Bob McCabe is exactly the type of Branch Manager that has come to define Oppenheimer, typifying the leadership, support and resources we provide to entrepreneurial-minded financial advisors,” Ed Harrington, executive vice president and head of the Private Client Division at Oppenheimer said in a statement in January.
Oppenheimer’s East Coast Florida complex, led by Brian Kutsmeda, includes 41 advisors in two branches in Delray Beach and Boca Raton as well as the Palm Beach office and manages a combined $3 billion in client assets, according to the release.
New York-based Oppenheimer had 1,004 brokers as of June 30, down a net 25 from 1,029 the prior year, according to its most recent earnings report.