Ex-UBS Star Wins in Gender Complaint

U.S.-based UBS broker notched up a victory in a high-stakes case against the Swiss wealth manager.

Christine Carona won $1.6 million in damages from the Zurich-based bank in a discrimination lawsuit. She left the Swiss bank two years ago, claiming her career was stifled by discrimination by both UBS as well as her boss.

The veteran banker is little known outside Boston, but was a top producer for UBS: she managed more than $300 million in assets for the Swiss bank, which in turn appointed her to a «President’s Council» of outperforming brokers. She left UBS for Morgan Stanley, where she runs a wealth management team, in 2017.

Carona’s evidence to a state arbitration panel is uncomfortable reading: she alleged her then-boss had regularly called her a bitch and made other derogatory remarks about her personal life as well as her and other women’s’ work. Carona claimed her supervisor doled out more valuable accounts mainly to male colleagues.

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The supervisor is still employed by UBS’ U.S. wealth arm, which is overseen by Tom Naratil, as a managing director and Boston market head. UBS said it disagreed with the panel’s result: «UBS is committed to providing a diverse and inclusive workplace for all our employees.»

The bank has run into trouble at its Swiss wealth arm as well: roughly one dozen women circulated a petition last year, alleging they were short-changed on bonuses The bank denied that it treats working women differently, and said only a small number of employees who feel they have been treated unfairly have come forward.

The U.S. wealth arm forms the larger part of UBS’ overall private bank, by assets. Ex-Credit Suisse top executive Iqbal Khan joined UBS as Naratil’s unit co-head earlier this month. In the U.S., where UBS employs some 7,000 advisers, Naratil is aiming for a bigger chunk of banking with the super-rich.

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