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.