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ABN and Framlington in legal wrangle over fund managers

ABN Amro and Framlington have become embroiled in a bitter legal wrangle over the departure of star fund managers George Luckraft and Nigel Thomas.

The legal dispute arose after former ABN stars Luck-raft and Thomas walked out last week, claiming that actions taken by ABN since their resignations had caused an irreconcilable breakdown in their relationship and made their positions untenable.

With speculation mounting that both would be running funds for Framlington within days, ABN slapped an injunction on the pair, preventing them working until their contracts – which have more than 10 months left to run – expire.

The injunction, citing breach of contract, was subsequently overturned in the High Court on Friday but replaced by an “identical undertaking” on the two managers to go on gardening leave until a full hearing takes place in July.

ABN Amro could be facing an exodus of investors, with some IFAs predicting that the company could lose most of the £1.3bn of UK funds managed by Luckraft and Thomas.

Jupiter has already withdrawn around £20m from the funds and other multi-managers are understood to have followed suit.

Framlington marketing director Craig Walton says: “It is regrettable that this matter will be dealt with by the court. We remain hopeful that a sensible compromise on a starting date at Framlington for George and Nigel can be agreed with ABN Amro.”

ABN global chief executive Tom Cross-Brown says: “We unreservedly reject Thomas and Luckraft&#39s claims that we have in any way caused a breach of contract. We will do anything to protect the interests of clients and the company.”

•Investment, p30

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