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Adviser accused of stealing company database

An adviser has been accused of stealing his company’s client database when he left to set up his own business.

The Exeter Express and Echo reports Stephen Wales is on trial at Exeter Crown Court accused of downloading his company’s database on his last day of work.

Wales had worked at Devon-based advice firm The Pension Drawdown Company for two years before he left to set up his own advice business in October 2010.

The prosecution says he signed a restrictive covenant agreement which prevented him removing any confidential information.

He is accused of sending emails to his private email address containing client data and on his last day creating two zip files which allowed him to take the database away on a memory stick.

Within six weeks of leaving to set up his business, it is alleged that more than 30 clients had transferred from The Pension Drawdown Company to Wales’ firm.

The Pension Drawdown Company managing director Jonathan Walker told the court he had never given authority for any data to be removed or transferred, and that Wales’ actions put his company “in jeopardy”.

Walker said: “The theft of the data enabled him to take clients away from me.”

He said he reported the incident to the FSA and the Data Protection Commissioner, but was told to report the matter to the police.

The trial continues.

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  1. Elsewhere, it’s been reported that Mr Wales told police he had only taken data such as forms which he could adapt for his business. He initially denied taking the database, but later said he had deleted it.

    So he did steal the database and, quite independently of the fact that 30 clients of The Pension Drawdown Company defected to his new company in a very short space of time, decided that the right thing to do was delete it.

    Hardly a convincing defence, is it?

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