Kostantina Bourdev was an advisor and private banker at JP Morgan having worked her way up through the company for the past eight years. Based at the branch in San Jose, California, Bourdev’s contract with the firm was terminated in September 2013 after the bank made claims that Bourdev had falsely characterized the risks and returns of a handful of fixed-income funds.
After taking on the firm, Bourdev has emerged victorious. An arbitration panel has cleared her of all accusations and ordered JP Morgan, the American multinational banking and financial services holding company, to pay the accused $350,000 in compensatory damages with interest.
The panel also ordered the termination explanation on Bourdev’s Form U-5 be expunged. JP Morgan had changed Ms Bourdev’s U-5 termination notice to show the firm’s accusations. The panel has now ordered it to be replaced with, “A FINRA arbitration panel found no violations of investment-related statutes, regulations, rules or industry standards of conduct on the part of registered rep Kostantina Bourdev. The FINRA arbitration panel found that JP Morgan Securities, LLC conducted a deficient investigation concerning Bourdev relating to her termination.”
Such a dispute is rare, with many individuals too afraid to take on such a big corporation for fear of high legal fees and repercussions. However, it is thought that Bourdev’s success in the case will encourage others who may have been wrongfully terminated to speak up.
The dispute occurred after another advisor was claimed to have misrepresented the risks and guaranteed returns of certain investments in client presentations.
Bourdev had been a part of joint presentations at various times with the accused, but is said to have only discussed banking products during those incidents. However, JP Morgan claimed Bourdev had attended other client meetings where the alleged misrepresentations were made and that she failed to report them to supervisors.
Bourdev argued that she had never heard the alleged misrepresentations, the claims were false and that her character had been defamed as a result.
Despite Bourdev winning her case, it may be too little too late for the advisor who has struggled to find work of the same level since her termination. She is currently working at Ameriprise as an Investment Advisor Representative however this has meant a severe cut in salary.
This is not the first time the firm has been taken on by one of its former employees, but it is one of the rare times the individual has emerged successful.
In May it emerged that Wayne Trotman, who was JP Morgan Chase's Philadelphia-based mid-Atlantic market president, was suing the company after claiming he had been wrongfully terminated.
He claimed the company got rid of him when he refused to use his high standing in a Philadelphia non-profit organisation to delay a settlement housing development case.
Earlier this year, the Christ Church Cathedral of Indianapolis also took action against the firm and decided to sue JP Morgan after the parish claims they lost the church $13m.
Since JP Morgan had taken over the banks that looked after the church’s funds, they had replaced many of the investments with JP’s own funds.
Over time the church incurred more fees, a poorer portfolio performance and had lost a significant amount of money that otherwise would have gone to charity work.
A settlement was later reached.