An adviser has been ordered to pay £10,000 to his former employer after he stole client data to approach investors about transferring to his rival firm.
The Exeter Express & Echo reports Stephen Wales used a flash drive to download the client database of his former firm, Torquay-based Pension Drawdown Company.
Wales had worked for the firm for two years before resigning and setting his own business called Positive Solutions Financial Services.
He used the stolen data to ask clients to come over to his new business.
The entire client database was found on Wales’ computer after his former boss Jonathan Walker complained to the police after finding out some of his clients had been approached by Wales.
Peter Coombe, for the defence, told the court Wales had brought clients to Pension Drawdown Company and had a gentlemen’s agreement he could take them back when he left.
Coombe added Wales only intended to take the clients he had brought to the business, and planned to delete the data on the 400 other customers.
Wales has been ordered to pay £10,000 in compensation to Walker after admitting two offences of breaching the Data Protection Act.
He was found not guilty of fraud, on which a jury were unable to reach a verdict two years ago.
Judge Graham Cottle told Wales: “The jury at at your trial for fraud was unable to reach a verdict because some of the jury probably believed this was really a civil dispute rather than a criminal matter. I utterly sympathise with that view.
“You have now admitted knowingly obtaining personal data. A long time has passed and you have set up your own business and a line needs to be drawn under this case.”