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Another Ex-UBS Advisor Sues Wirehouse for Age Discrimination

By Miriam Rozen October 6, 2020

Another former UBS Financial Services advisor is suing the wirehouse for age discrimination.

Kelly McGrew filed the lawsuit on October 1 before the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. He was 58 when the alleged discrimination took place, according to the complaint.

McGrew’s lawsuit came six weeks after another ex-UBS advisor, Fermin Padilla, filed an age and racial discrimination lawsuit against the firm before the same court.

Both McGrew and Padilla worked at the Colorado Springs branch of UBS, and both are represented by the Lewis Kuhn Swan law firm. McGrew was registered with UBS from 2009 to 2019, before he joined RBC Wealth Management. Padilla was registered with UBS from 2002 to 2019, and he is currently at Cascade Investment Group.

Both plaintiffs claim that Scott Wilson, who became branch manager of UBS’ Colorado Springs Branch in 2015, told “older financial advisors in the Colorado Springs branch that they were too old and needed to retire.” Both claim that Wilson made the remarks “during group meetings and in one-on-one meetings,” and that the branch manager told at least one customer to hire a younger UBS advisor.

Wilson started working at UBS in 2008, according to his BrokerCheck record, and is still the branch manager at the Colorado Springs office, according to the branch’s website. Wilson was not named a defendant in either lawsuit.

McGrew’s complaint alleges he was “constructively terminated” by UBS in September 2019 on “false and pretextual grounds” that included an accusation that he was “selling away.”

Selling away — “or directing clients not to execute trades through UBS but instead to execute the trades through an outside broker in exchange for a kickback” — is a very serious accusation that could have resulted in the loss of McGrew’s FA license, the complaint states. Because UBS had terminated Padilla earlier in 2019 also for false and pretextual reasons, McGrew was concerned that UBS was engaged in a similar course of conduct toward him, the complaint alleges.

The complaint further claims that in retaliation for McGrew’s accusation of age discrimination, UBS refused to pay him his final production credits, which exceeded $40,000. The complaint claims that McGrew was “the second most productive financial advisor in the Colorado Springs office with over $200 million in client assets.”

A spokesperson for UBS says the company and Wilson decline to comment for this story.

Meanwhile, the court has granted UBS an extension until October 26 to file a response to Padilla’s lawsuit. UBS had told the court that Padilla’s claims are subject to an arbitration agreement and both parties are “discussing what constitutes proof” that he electronically signed that agreement.

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Tags:  Fees and compensation , Staffing and recruiting , Regulatory/legal issues , Succession planning , RBC Wealth Management , UBS

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Seasoned Professional Oct. 6, 2020 at 06:01 PM EDT

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Disappointing behavior.