FINRA's New York office

A Chicago-based advisor has been awarded $417,000 by a regulatory panel, which ruled that Southwest Securities wrongfully fired and defamed her.

Arbitrators with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority say that the broker-dealer is liable for compensatory damages to Kimberly Rose and must reword the reason for her 2014 termination in her regulatory records.

Rose had argued that Southwest Securities — which was bought by Hilltop Holdings in 2015 — fired and defamed her in an effort to “retain her institutional brokerage clients,” according to the dispute resolution.

The panel ordered that her U5 form state that Rose, “a productive employee with an unblemished employment record, was terminated after she failed to cooperate with an audit by the Illinois Securities Department, and, after she had requested but did not receive meaningful assistance in connection with said audit.”

The advisor had requested $3.1 million in compensatory damages and an equal amount in punitive damages related to the possible losses of income tied to the original wording of why she was fired in the U5 report.

“Southwest’s principals took advantage of a devoted, high-producing female broker,” said Stephany McLaughlin, an attorney with Eccleston Law, said in the statement. “The arbitrators clearly saw through the smoke and mirrors offered by Southwest.”

“She ultimately was happy with the results and to have her record corrected,” McLaughlin explained in an interview.