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.”