by Mike Caswell
CIBC World Markets Inc. is facing a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia from Francesco Mauro, its former branch manager in West Vancouver, over his February, 2007, firing. He claims that CIBC unfairly terminated him after 27 years of service over trading irregularities in an account under his supervision. He seeks damages in lieu of notice and for the loss of his client base, among other things.
Mr. Mauro's termination, as described in the suit, came after CIBC's compliance department reviewed trading in an account owned by one of Mr. Mauro's long-term clients. On more than one day, the account had executed trades that amounted to high-closing. The trades occurred in a company was that arranging a private placement, and were entered by the wife of the company's chief executive officer. (Mr. Mauro faced a case from the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada for the trading, which he settled by agreeing to pay $30,000.)
According to the suit, firing Mr. Mauro was an extreme response, given the modest nature of the infraction. Mr. Mauro was a long-term employee, and others at CIBC had committed similar or worse infractions and had kept their jobs. Mr. Mauro also points out that he had no direct role in the trades, an assistant having taken the orders.