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Former EJ adviser says clients feared “narrower” service

Former Edward Jones adviser Stuart Hutton says his clients thought they would receive a narrower service if they stayed with the firm following the Towry acquisition and were not confident of the arrangements offered.

Hutton was being cross-examined by the claimants in the High Court yesterday as Towry seeks nearly £6m in damages from Raymond James and seven former EJ advisers over alleged client solicitation (see right for previous articles).

The seven advisers all had non-solicitation clauses as part of their restrictive covenants with EJ.

In his witness statement, Hutton says his clients were also put off by Paul Evans, the man appointed by EJ to take responsibility for them, because Evans was “more aggressive and sales orientated”.

He says: “I was no longer their financial adviser. Mr Paul Evans was appointed by Edward Jones to take over responsibility for some of my clients. I have been told by some clients subsequently that they have found his approach to be different from my own, in that he is more aggressive and sales orientated.”

Hutton adds in his statement that he did not find his clients’ decisions to move with him surprising because of the “different nature of service now being offered to them by Edward Jones”.

Hutton told the court on Tuesday he had a “strong, personal relationship with many of his clients”, and this was the reason they had stayed with him.

Hutton is leader of the Conservative opposition on Cheltenham Borough Council and says he has a “fairly high profile in the local media” as well as close connections with the people around his office in Whinchcombe.

He denies the allegations of soliciting clients after leaving Edward Jones. As an example he said a female client approached him to “complain about the fact I had left without telling her and she was extremely disappointed with the poor service she had received since.”

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Comments

There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Intesting article: I just wonder is it Towry Law that feels aggreived or is it their Venture Capital backers pulling the strings?
    If this back-fires their wont be much venture capital to be made as TL could find they have even less clients that before Edward jones clients were merged!

  2. As an outsider (thank heavens) it seems to me that the defence strategy seems to be not so much to dispel any thoughts of reasonable probability of solicitation (which is apparently all that needs to be established in a civil action such as this) as to suggest that so many former EJ clients were so dissatisfied with the way they were treated after their original EJ adviser left that there was simply no need to solicit them. The considerable amount of evidence already in the public domain in support of this arguement may well lend it considerable weight.

    We watch with interest.

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