Ex-Barclays Trader Wins $190,000 Job at Bank That Fired Him

(Bloomberg) -- A former Barclays trader fired over the misuse of an electronic trading program won a long-shot campaign to get a job back at the bank.

David Fotheringhame, who won his unfair dismissal lawsuit in March, should be paid an annual compensation of 150,000 pounds ($190,000), London employment judge Jill Brown said. His new role as a director, however, is junior to his previous title and comes with a big pay cut.

Fotheringhame, 47, who had told the judge he was prepared to work anywhere at the bank, will be re-employed as director of data commercialization. A spokesman for Barclays, which had fought his return, declined to comment Thursday. Fotheringhame declined to comment in an email.

Barclays fired him after reaching a $150 million settlement with the Department of Financial Services in New York, which ruled that the bank misused “Last Look,” an electronic trading program allowing market makers to back out of some losing trades, which Fotheringhame was involved in.

The trader sued after losing his 1.2 million-pound a year job when the DFS told Barclays in 2015 to “take all steps necessary” to eliminate his post. Fotheringhame was “not guilty of culpable and blameworthy conduct” when he applied the program to all clients without trying to distinguish between toxic and benign ones, Brown has said previously.

“Trust and confidence has not broken down between” Fotheringhame and the bank “so as to render re-engagement to this role impracticable,” Brown said in her Aug. 9 judgment. “Re-engagement is the most appropriate remedy to provide redress for this unfair dismissal.”

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Last Look is a controversial practice and the U.K.’s Investment Association raised concerns that it could disadvantage clients. The trader was the bank’s head of automated flow trading for electronic fixed-income, currencies and commodities.

By winning his re-employment, Fotheringhame stands to make considerably more than if he’d accepted a payout, which is capped at 83,700 pounds by U.K. employment laws unless a case involves discrimination or whistle-blowing. Orders for reinstatement or re-engagement are extremely rare and are made in less than 1 percent of cases, according to employment lawyers.

‘Lot of Dirt’

"The reason most people don’t want to go back is that the relationship has broken down to such an extent," said James Murray, an employment lawyer at Kingsley Napley in London. "At a tribunal there’s generally a lot of dirt pulled up, people often can’t stand to look at each other."
Fotheringhame should be given a role that doesn’t require Barclays to formally certify him as a “fit and proper person,” the judge said. "It would be a change in direction for him. It might well be appropriate for an employee to take a pay cut when pursuing a new line of employment."

At the hearing in July, Barclays lined up several senior executives to testify about why they couldn’t employ Fotheringhame. Officials said that it would be inappropriate to re-hire him after he had publicly criticized the dismissal process. The bank has until Sept. 21 to comply with the judgment.

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