Class Action Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of All United States-Based Credit Suisse Financial Advisers Who Had Unvested Credit Suisse Deferred Compensation Awards Pursuant to One or More Share Plans and Whose Employment with Credit Suisse Terminated Between October 20, 2015 and March 31, 2016.

On February 7, 2018, a class action lawsuit was filed against Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC in United States District Court, Northern District of California, as a result of Credit Suisse’s alleged refusal to pay millions owed in the form of “deferred compensation” to financial advisers who worked in Credit Suisse’s Private Banking Division following Credit Suisse’s decision to “shutter its financial advisory operations in late 2015.” Among other things, the class action lawsuit against Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC seeks damages and restitution.

According to the class action complaint:

The compensation that Credit Suisse agreed to pay the [financial] advisers consisted of multiple components. One of the primary components was ‘deferred compensation,’ whereby a significant portion of the [financial] advisers’ compensation for a given year is paid on a deferred basis in subsequent years pursuant to the terms of Credit Suisse’s form contracts. Under the contracts, the deferred compensation vests and is paid under a specified schedule, and is necessarily owed by Credit Suisse to the [financial] adviser except under limited, specified circumstances that are set forth in the contract—specifically, if the adviser voluntarily ‘resigns’ from Credit Suisse or the adviser is terminated by Credit Suisse for cause, neither of which occurred here.

When Credit Suisse, according to the complaint, announced in October 2015 “. . . that it was completely shuttering its financial advisory operations effective within a few months, leaving hundreds of Credit Suisse financial advisors out of a job,” the financial institution

. . . took the erroneous position that the advisors voluntarily ‘resigned’ from Credit Suisse and their remaining deferred compensation was thus forfeited under the contract.  The lone exception that Credit Suisse made to this policy was if an adviser was hired by Wells Fargo, with whom Credit Suisse had entered into a ‘recruiting agreement,’ in which case they were permitted to retain some of their deferred compensation entitlements. Otherwise, all outstanding earned deferred compensation was cancelled and denied entirely by Credit Suisse. Through this ‘resignation’ façade, Credit Suisse is reported to have improperly retained as much as $300 million in deferred compensation owed to the advisers. [Emphasis added]

The class action complaint alleges that Credit Suisse “reaped the benefits of Plaintiff’s and the Class’ work over many years, including through substantial revenues Credit Suisse generated through their work.”  Credit Suisse, allegedly, “should not be able to avoid its obligation to compensate the advisers fully and fairly by claiming they ‘resigned’ when, in fact, Credit Suisse simply ceased operating this business,” and the financial advisers should not “be deprived of their earned deferred compensation because of Credit Suisse’s unilateral business decision to exit the market and eliminate their jobs.”

U.S.-Based Credit Suisse Financial Advisers Whose Employment Terminated Between October 20, 2015 and March 31, 2016

If your employment as a United States-based Credit Suisse Financial Adviser was terminated between October 20, 2015 and March 31, 2016, and at the time your employment ended, you had unvested Credit Suisse deferred compensation awards, pursuant to one or more Share Plans, please contact Kehoe Law Firm, P.C., complete the form above on the right or e-mail [email protected] to discuss your potential legal rights or claims.

NOTE: The Class Excludes Credit Suisse Financial Advisers Who Were Hired by Wells Fargo Between October 20, 2015 and March 31, 2016.

Kehoe Law Firm, P.C.