New York Court Assesses the Validity of a Former Portfolio Manager’s Claim against a Fund Management Company for Unvested Performance Compensation

After a portfolio manager was terminated following nine months of employment with a fund manager, he refused to sign a separation agreement that released the manager employer from a broad array of possible claims.  However, the separation agreement apparently permitted the portfolio manager to collect unvested performance fees in accordance with the conditions of the relevant vesting plan – one of which was that the portfolio manager sign such a release.  The former portfolio manager sued, claiming an entitlement to unvested performance fees.  This article summarizes the court’s decision and reasoning and provides relevant background information drawn from the complaint and the relevant motion papers.  For coverage of other high-stakes severance disputes, see “U.S. District Court Evaluates FINRA Arbitration Decision in High-Stakes Severance Dispute Between UBS and Former Portfolio Manager,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 4, No. 41 (Nov. 17, 2011); and “New York State Supreme Court Upholds Former Portfolio Managers’ Claims Against Hedge Fund Manager Touradji Capital for Breach of Contract and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress; Dismisses Remaining Causes of Action,” Hedge Fund Law Report, Vol. 2, No. 39 (Oct. 1, 2009).

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