Two advisors who jumped to Merrill Lynch after just four months with Barclays were ordered by a FINRA arbitration panel to pay back more than $6.6 million in signing bonuses to the firm.
Matthew J. Celenza and Lawrence DiGioia, partners in the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based Celenza & DiGioia Group, moved to Merrill in July 2012, after joining Barclays earlier in April that year.
The British financial firm filed a breach of contract claim with FINRA in August 2012, according to the arbitrators award notice. The firm made additional claims, including unjust enrichment, indemnity and specific performance.
According to the award notice filed on Oct. 3, both advisors made several counterclaims against Barclays, including fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and breach of contract.
The Los Angeles-based arbitration panel ruled Celenza and DiGioia would have to pay back more than $6.6 million in promissory notes between them to Barclays. The panel also denied the advisors' counterclaims.
Barclays is pleased with the outcome of this case and that all of their claims were dismissed, a company spokeswoman stated.
Celenza and DiGioia declined comment on the ruling. A spokesman for Merrill Lynch said the firm had no comment on the panel decision.
DiGioia is a 26-year veteran of the financial industry, according to broker records, while Celenza has been a broker for the past 18 years.
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