Ex-ICAP Broker Sues Over Guaranteed Bonus That Wasn't Guaranteed

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(Bloomberg) -- A former ICAP Plc bond broker suing his former employer for wrongful dismissal and hundreds of thousands of pounds in unpaid bonuses told a London judge that he is “just a little guy fighting for my future.”

Adrian Faieta says he was put on leave in 2014 and eventually fired after refusing to give up a guaranteed bonus. He also claims ICAP prevented him from finding another job in the industry for 15 months -- known as garden leave -- forcing him to try his hand at trading derivatives at home.

“I’ve got a family to support and legal fees that are quite expensive,” he said Wednesday.

The ICAP unit involved in the case was acquired by Tullett Prebon Plc and rolled into a new company called TP ICAP Plc at the end of last year. The former ICAP business -- a collection of electronic markets and post-trade services -- renamed itself as NEX Group Plc.

Interdealer brokers, which connect investment firms buying and selling securities, have frequently been embroiled in employment disputes in London courts over allegations of poaching staff and mistreatment of workers.

200,000 Pound-Salary

ICAP said that Faieta was wrongfully dismissed but isn’t entitled to bonuses on top of his salary of 200,000 pounds ($263,000) and a guaranteed bonus of the same amount, according to documents prepared for the trial. 

It was “entirely unjustifiable” for ICAP to put him on leave and prevent him from seeking another job for 15 months, Faieta said in court documents. He is seeking lost salary, a guaranteed minimum bonus and an additional bonus that he says he would have earned had he stayed at the company.

“2016 and 2017 would have been my strongest and most profitable years ever,” he said.

Spokespeople for TP ICAP and NEX Group declined to comment on the suit.

The bond desk was performing so badly that by mid-2014 Faieta was asked to forgo his guaranteed minimum bonus because it was limiting the company’s ability to pay out other bonuses and may have caused the desk to shut down completely, ICAP’s lawyers said. 

"ICAP had absolute discretion to put the claimant on garden leave at any time," lawyers for the interdealer broker said in court documents. "It was not a breach of contract to put the claimant on garden leave” when he refused to give up his bonus.

’Absurdity’

Faieta said that had he not been put on garden leave, ICAP would’ve been liable to pay 400,000 pounds-a-year bonus between 2013 and 2015 plus 200,000 a-year award between 2015 and 2017, contingent on him generating 2 million euros ($2.4 million) in revenue each year.

Faieta’s "approach is nonsensical to the point of absurdity," because he never would have generated "revenues of more than 2 million euros” in any year, in any case, ICAP’s lawyers said.

While the bulk of the lawsuit concerns contract issues, Faieta also complained about his treatment by managers.

Faieta’s lawyer asked Frits Vogels, the head of EMEA broking at ICAP’s global broking division, whether he recognized Faieta’s claim that Vogels had “roared” at him at work.

“Not at all,” Vogels replied. “Roaring at people is something I hardly ever do.” He said he was a “calm” person.

©2017 Bloomberg L.P.

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