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Categories:Advisers,Regulation

Raymond James advisers express anger over Towry allegations

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Raymond James staff and advisers outside court yesterday

Source: Michael Crabtree/Troika

Raymond James staff and advisers outside court yesterday

Raymond James advisers have expressed their anger over Towry’s unfounded allegations that they conspired to break their Edward Jones contracts as part of a “pre-existing plan” to solicit clients.

During the court case in July, Towry accused Raymond James and seven advisers of conspiring to breach their Edward Jones contracts, which included a non-solicitation clause. Towry dropped the allegations when summing up the case.

Faegre Baker Daniels litigation partner Robert Campbell, who represented Raymond James, says: “The conspiracy claim is one of the most serious allegations you can make in a civil court. The judge was most dismissive of this element of the claim, and this was particularly the aspect why she awarded indemnity costs.”

Handing down her judgment in the High Court in London yesterday, Mrs Justice Cox expressed surprise that the allegations were not dropped sooner.

She said: “I reject, as entirely without foundation in this case, the allegation that the conduct of the individual defendants prior to leaving their employment with Towry was consistent with a ‘pre-existing plan’ to poach Towry’s clients.

“In my judgment the allegation of conspiracy as between the individual defendants, or some of them, was wholly unsustainable on the evidence in this case. I am therefore unsurprised by the closing submission that Towry no longer pursues a case against any individual defendant that they combined and conspired with any of the other individual defendants. Indeed I am surprised that such a case was pursued at all.”

The Raymond James defence team suggested the conspiracy claims added significant stress to the advisers by making them personally liable for nearly £6m of damages.

Speaking outside court yesterday, one of the accused advisers Barry Bennett, who is now a Raymond James stockbroker, said: “To be accused of this and taken to court was absolutely ridiculous. There was never any conspiracy.”

Another adviser James Chandler, also now a Raymond James stockbroker, said: “What we were accused of by the Towry management was an absolute disgrace.”

Raymond James chief executive Peter Moores said: “The case should never have been brought.”

For full coverage of the verdict see this week’s Money Marketing and related articles to the right.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Time to move on. Unless there is an appeal it's over.

    Remember you have clients to look after and in this current climate it's not an easy thing.

    Clients - Don't forget them.

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  • Lets face it who really owns a client ? NOBODY. If a client has dealt with an adviser for many years and has built up a trust with that person, they will probably wish to continue dealing with the same and not the firm. I have an adviser leaving my firm and over the years he has introduced many good quality clients. Most have never met me or spoken to me so what right do I have to try and prevent him from contacting them in the future. The clients themselves will choose who they deal with.

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  • I think David makes a very valid point.

    After all, I do not think the garage that services my car, or the supermarket where I do my shopping "owns" me. Even if I say I "belong" to the AA or the Scout Association or the National Trust, I do not for a moment think they "own" me.

    My clients are my clients only while they consider that I deserve them to be and not a moment longer.

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