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Employment watchdog throws out bank boss's job title complaint

The former New Zealand boss of J P Morgan Chase Bank has failed in a compensation bid after claiming the bank refused to confirm his role as chief executive.

Robert Wade Lewis alleged J P Morgan Chase Bank breached a settlement agreement with him in 2010 by failing to refer to him by the correct job title in relation to his time working at the bank.

In his complaint to the Employment Relations Authority, Mr Lewis said that caused him damage in terms of employment opportunities within the banking industry.

Mr Lewis said the chief executive role was particularly important in terms of the relationship between the bank and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) – which has a statutory obligation to satisfy itself that a chief executive of a registered bank trading in New Zealand was a fit and proper person for the role.

Mr Lewis pleaded that he was the chief executive of J P Morgan Chase Bank in New Zealand during his tenure there and was approved by the RBNZ as a fit and proper person.

J P Morgan said it did not provide references, but issued certificates of service only, and that was apparent in the settlement agreement with Mr Lewis.

ERA member James Crichton said it could not take Mr Lewis’s claim further because there was no evidence J P Morgan Chase had breached the settlement agreement.

Even if it was, Mr Crichton said the ERA had no jurisdiction to grant damages.

The only remedy for breaches of settlement agreements was the remedy of compliance – requiring the erring party to complete its part of the bargain.

Mr Lewis is now working at the Bank of New Zealand as head of working capital solutions for BNZ Partners.

More by Georgina Bond

Comments and questions

Useful to note that the ERA watchdog is a toothless, neutered and tethered as is the norm.


Lewis would have had his title, if it is that important, on his letter of appointment. If not then he was not the Managing Director.

thats a career drop down move...going from JP Morgan to boring working at the BNZ

People are begging on the street and our economy is slipping into third world status and this weenie is worried about his title.

Sadly, publicity around employment relations issues mostly negatively affects the employee's reputation, even when the employer has behaved badly.

Titles are for those with big egos.

the BNZ is almost like the civil service. What an unstimulating environment for an ex merchant banker

Going to the ERA , pretty much, ends any future career in the private banking sector. Especially, when he comes out of the wrong side of the draw.

A BNZ staffer. For Life.

You kniow I dont care who behaved badly, in fact I just dont care at all. If this guy was a rubbish man this wouldn't be a story. Isnt it great to live in a classless society like NZ.

Yeah Right

ha ha ha very funny.... yep ALOT more important matter in the world than a title..... it is interesting reading peoples comments about this matter and this person.....

Where was Jamie Dimon, when RWL needed him in his most desperate hour?

"Jamie, Jamie -- where is you?"

Who was it now in Govt who used to work for J P Morgan?

For all that, the ERA appears to have decided the matter correctly. Now he will have to pay costs, which begs the question: 'Who advised him to take the claim that far?'