Ex-JPMorgan FX Salesman Loses Retrial on Unfair Dismissal

(Bloomberg) -- A former JPMorgan Chase & Co. currency salesman fired for short-filling a client order lost his claim of unfair dismissal, reversing a previous decision in his favor in the latest twist stemming from the global foreign-exchange scandal.

The U.S. bank’s decision to dismiss Patrice Ktorza “was fair, both procedurally and substantively," Judge Catrin Lewis said in a ruling published Friday. The decision overturns Ktorza’s victory in 2016, when a London tribunal criticized the bank’s investigation process leading to the dismissal.

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.

Seven banks, including JPMorgan, were fined about $10 billion by global authorities for currency-market manipulation in 2014 and 2015.

The Frenchman disputed doing anything wrong in carrying out the transaction, or that he ought to have been aware the practice was then prohibited. In the 2016 hearing, Ktorza said suspension left him anxious and isolated and eventually cost him 2 million pounds ($2.8 million) in lost pay.

“I was being held to a standard which was hypocritical,” Ktorza said in his statement at the retrial in February. “The bank was hedging its bets and trying to satisfy two objectives, moving toward different practices while not exposing itself to liability for old practices.”

A spokesperson for JPMorgan declined to comment on the ruling.

The judge was satisfied that following their investigation, JPMorgan held a genuine belief that Ktorza “ought to have known that he was not permitted to short fill the order, that he ought to have realized this was running risk and that was something sales were not supposed to do,” according to her ruling.

“I am very disappointed by the judge’s decision,” Ktorza said Friday. “My interests were always to protect my clients and my employer. They dismissed me for the same reasons they were paying me so well, that is just unfair.”

“I am devastated and I lost everything,” he said.

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