Other Citywire websites
Stay connected:

View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/new-model-adviser/article/a566387

Towry loses High Court battle against Raymond James

by Alex Steger on Feb 14, 2012 at 14:13

Towry loses High Court battle against Raymond James

National IFA Towry has lost its High Court battle against rival wealth management firm Raymond James and seven former Edward Jones advisers it alleged solicited clients.

The Honourable Mrs Justice Cox DBE ruled against Towry, finding that the seven ex-Edward Jones advisers, Barry Bennett, Pieter Burger, James Chandler, Wayne Hayhurst, Thomas Spain, Stuart Hutton, and Tracey Simpson had not solicited clients.

Click above to view Alex Steger's exclusive interviews with the victorious advisers on the steps of the High Court

The judge found 'that there was no repudiatory breach by the claimant of the contracts of employment of the individual defendants' and that 'the claimant has not proved the allegations of wrongful conduct against the defendants.'

In finding against Towry, the judge said it did not pay enough regard to clients' loyalty to their individual advisers. 'The identity of their financial adviser and the trust and loyalty towards someone with whom they had a close, personal and professional relationship was of paramount importance to many Edward Jones clients,' she said. 'In my judgment Towry seriously underestimated the importance of these factors in this case.'

The judge dismissed Towry's claim for £6 million in damages that it argued had resulted from the advisers' actions. Raymond James and the seven former Edward Jones advisers are seeking nearly £1 million plus VAT in costs. Towry has accepted it will pay a significant segment of the defendants costs, although how much is yet to be finalised. If the costs go through unchallenged they must be paid by 4pm on 6 March. Read more about Raymond James' submission to the court for costs here and here.

Towry chief executive Andrew Fisher (pictured) said he was disappointed at the judgment. He argued that while the judge had concluded Towry did not have enough evidence to prove non-solicitation clauses had been breached, the ruling did show that non-solicitation and non-dealing clauses were reasonable devices.

'We did not undertake this action lightly but to protect our legitimate business interests for our clients and shareholders,' he said.  

'The judgment does support the efforts of professional services firms like ours, to protect their legitimate business interests, through contractual non-solicitation, non-dealing and confidentiality clauses.

'The contracts of the former Edward Jones employees were materially different to our standard Towry contracts in that they did not contain a "non-dealing" clause and we are confident that our current Towry contracts afford us appropriate commercial protection.'

Raymond James chief executive Peter Moores said: 'The result today supports the Raymond James view that clients are loyal to their trusted adviser and should be able to continue to work with their adviser if they wish to do so and if this is permitted by the adviser's contract, as was the case here.'

Moores also hit out at Towry's level of service, arguing that the evidence of clients at the trial showed it to be lacking. He said they were 'real people with very real concerns about the significant changes taking place at Towry EJ despite assurances that “nothing would change”, the impact of those changes on how their money would be managed and the poor service they received from Towry during and after the takeover of Edward Jones'.

The case kicked off in June last year. Towry argued that the advisers ‘joined RJ [Raymond James], as self-employed advisers, and within a short period of time, nearly 400 clients came to transfer their investments, worth over £33 million, and their investment business from [Towry] to RJ.’

During the case the counsel for the seven advisers and Raymond James claimed that there was no evidence of either loss or solicitation and that ‘the defendants were simply followed by their clients.’

Towry originally took out an injunction against Raymond James and the advisers in April 2010.

Towry brought the case on the grounds that the alleged client solicitation breached the restrictive non-solicitation clauses in the advisers' terms of employment, which prohibited them from soliciting clients for 12 months after they left the company.

The case saw Towry’s independence and investment proposition, its Independent Investment Management service (IIM), come under the spotlight. Chief executive Andrew Fisher (pictured) was also forced to defend his reputation.

The seven advisers had joined Towry when the national IFA bought the UK arm of US broker Edward Jones in October.

Whilst we are disappointed that our case has been dismissed, we consider that the judgment provides useful guidance for professional services firms wishing to protect their legitimate business interests.

The judge found that client names, addresses, contact details and investment requirements are confidential information. She also found that non-solicitation and non-dealing clauses are ‘reasonable’ contractual clauses and that in general, they are appropriate and enforceable for the ongoing protection of the commercial interests of businesses like ours and other professional services firms.

In our case, the judge concluded that we did not have sufficient evidence to prove that the contractual non-solicitation clause had been breached.

Andrew Fisher, Chief Executive, today commented:

'We are obviously disappointed that the Court did not find in our favour. We did not undertake this action lightly but to protect our legitimate business interests for our clients and shareholders.

The judgment does support the efforts of professional services firms like ours, to protect their legitimate business interests, through contractual non-solicitation, non-dealing and confidentiality clauses.

The contracts of the former Edward Jones employees were materially different to our standard Towry contracts in that they did not contain a ‘non-dealing’ clause and we are confident that our current Towry contracts afford us appropriate commercial protection.'

Peter Moores, Chief Executive Officer at Raymond James said:

'We are very pleased that the judgment handed down today dismissed the case against Raymond James and the seven advisers affiliated to us. The judgment confirms that the advisers did not breach their restrictive covenants, that there was no misuse of confidential information and there was no conspiracy to injure Towry EJ. The result today was the right one. Raymond James is scrupulous in our recruitment process and in providing guidance to wealth managers looking to leave their present employers to join Raymond James where they can build their own client book. We are very pleased that the result today supports the assertion from the start that Raymond James and the seven advisers in this case acted properly and lawfully throughout.'

Mrs Justice Cox DBE in her judgment noted, 'Having regard to the whole evidence in this case, the allegations against Raymond James do not withstand scrutiny'.

Mr Moores also noted his appreciation to the clients who gave evidence at the trial. 'We are grateful to the 18 clients from all over the country who took the time to come to the High Court to tell their side of the story. Real people with very real concerns about the significant changes taking place at Towry EJ despite assurances that 'nothing would change', the impact of those changes on how their money would be managed and the poor service they received from Towry during and after the takeover of Edward Jones.'

Regarding the clients’ evidence, Mrs Justice Cox DBE notes in her judgment, “The evidence given by these individuals, from different backgrounds and regions, and with differing levels of knowledge or differing views concerning investments, demonstrated a striking and essentially consistent pattern in relation to their reasons for deciding to transfer to Raymond James. Their evidence was, in my view, powerful evidence pointing away from the allegations of solicitation in this case.'

It was also evident that Towry had no appreciation of, and paid scant regard to, the strength of the relationship between the client and their trusted adviser. Mrs. Justice Cox DBE noted, “…that the identity of their financial adviser and the trust and loyalty towards someone with whom they had a close, personal and professional relationship was of paramount importance to many Edward Jones clients. In my judgment Towry seriously underestimated the importance of these factors in this case.'

Towry and Edward Jones were very different businesses as Mrs. Justice Cox DBE pointed out, 'The important fact, as it seems to me, is that while both companies were providers of financial advice and services, the proposition was very different from that offered by Edward Jones.' Mr. Moores notes that this highlights the importance for those firms building scale through acquisitions the need to better understand the businesses they acquire coupled with more realistic assumptions. Minutes from Towry's Executive Committee meeting shortly before the acquisition showed that they had a working assumption that all Towry EJ's advisory stockbroking client assets would migrate into Towry's discretionary IIM.

Mr. Moores continues, 'In bringing an action against Raymond James and seven of our advisers it is clear that the clients’ wishes with respect to whom they wanted to have as a financial adviser, even when restrictive covenants allowed it, were not considered to be of primary concern by the claimant, and in their view client loyalty rests with the company and not the adviser. The result today supports the Raymond James view that clients are loyal to their trusted adviser and should be able to continue to work with their adviser if they wish to do so and if this is permitted by the adviser's contract, as was the case here. Both clients and financial advisers need to take a long hard look at the investment firms they choose to work with to see how they treat their advisers and their clients not just when they join or invest but also when they want to leave.'

146 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Ex Jones

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:18

YES! Well done RJ7

report this

Stratfield

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:19

*snigger*

report this

Advisor 1

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:21

A win for the good guys, when will companies learn, just becuase they have purchased something, that does not entitle them to clients, they need to earn the right to receive the commission, clearly that is something the Ex Edward Jones guys have demonstrated

report this

MR C.

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:23

That's made my day.

report this

Peter Kay

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:24

Well done the RJ 7!!!

This is brilliant- Mr Fisher, Mr Anderson, Mr Cowan, Mr Middleton, Mr Percy- your boys took a hell of a beating!!!!

report this

Man in Black

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:25

Does anyone have the judgement for this? Not on Bailii as far as I can see?

report this

Kevin Welsh

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:27

Well done lads. This leaves Fisher and his cronies looking very very stupid.

A good day.

report this

RPB

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:29

The first article I've seen about Towry which has made me smile

report this

Jenny N . I FA

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:30

They need to understand how well we look after our clients. They become our friends and we look after them very well and treat them with the greatest care and respect. Our clients always show their appreciation ( one gave me the biggest hug last week). It is also our duty to give them best advice.

Well done the RJ's who are obviously appreciated very much.

report this

The Party's Over

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:31

Excellent news!

It will be interesting to see the detail of the judgement as to how the decision was reached because it is this that will hopefully make it clear as to the ownership of the cliesnt and what is meant by solicitation.

No doubt an appeal will follow.....

report this

Stanley Kirk

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:31

No surprise - the Edward Jones clients did not like or want the Towry Law Proposition - Raymond James is much closer to what they had and wanted, no wonder they 'followed' the advisers.

report this

James Clancy

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:32

Great news! Well done to you all now hopefully you can put the whole saga stress and strain behind you and get on with building your business and most important of all your lives

report this

Andrew Baker

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:33

Every now and then a good decision is made by those who judge us. Clients deal with the adviser they trust and I cannot see how any organisation can either expect or seek to force any individual to deal with another they do not know, especially where their personal wealth is concerned.

If an individual leaves one company for another, then the client is free to follow that individual to the other company and transact their future business there if they so choose. And most clients do so choose.

Hooray for common sense and justice.

report this

Bob Stephenson

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:36

Really great result for the RJ7- it must have been a worrying time and obviously, win or lose, very costly.

report this

Bob Donaldson

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:38

I would not cheer so loudly until the costs are awarded, they could still end up out of pocket for taking Towry on. The final justic will be if costs are awarded against Towry.

report this

Ex-Edward Jones.

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:38

'pop', glug glug glug......

report this

The Dark Horse

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:39

Hurrah! Wonderful news!

report this

Tim Page

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:39

Who thinks Towry will appeal?

report this

EJ Survivor

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:44

Best News I've had in a long time.

A very good friend was caught up in this nonsense and has had to put up with this for nigh on 2 years now.

Towry need to take a long hard look at themselves and the way they do business.

I hope they have been hammered with paying the costs back that these ordinary people have had to put up to fight their case too.

report this

One that got away, ran away

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:48

I feel sorry for the Towry staff who will now be counting the cost aginst their personal renumeration as AF wont take the hit nor his lap dogs

report this

Neil Liversidge

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:48

Wanted: New poster boy - old one looking overweight, discredited and dated. Apply to Mr D Grote, Editor, New Model Adviser, Citywire...

report this

Digruntled ex Towry

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:57

HA HA HA

report this

James Clancy

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:58

@ Bob

Raymond James is pursuing £930,936 in legal costs from Towry

@ Neil

Agree Come on Dan surley you can find an up to date photo .One showing him just after he heard the news of the case would be great .

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 14, 2012 at 14:59

Re-arrange these common phrases:

1. Hoisted petard by own.

2. What around around comes goes.

3. Rolling on floor my arse laughing off.

report this

No Bull

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:00

I am delighted with this decision as Mr Fisher does not feature very highly in my Xmas card list however it will be interesting to understand the two points that may be clarified by this case:

1. What does 'solicitation' mean in this case and how does it effect existing contracts of employment. It may render existing contracts useless.

2. Does this judgement have an effect on IFA business values by the fact that IFAs of a selling business can walk away with clients without the owner being able to stop them.

I think this might cause a rethink of restrictive covenant wordings.

report this

Mark Thomas

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:00

I do hope it is a lot more than £6m damage done to Towry's business!

report this

Kate Brookes

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:02

A victory for TCF, as well as the advisers concerned.......

report this

Paul Redfearn

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:05

Common sense prevails. A lot of time, money and anguish could have been saved by simply asking the client (Who afterall is the improtant one here) who do they want to deal with!!!!!!

report this

Flowery Thwaits

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:07

Brilliant News Guys !! Well done, I hope you sue HIM ! for depravation of character. Is a resignation in the pipeline Mr Fisher……Bye Bye Oh and the Company Float ….Mmmm ?

report this

Jon Lowson

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:07

I think some people might be reading a bit more into this verdict, than they actually should.

The judge decided that Towry had not produced enough evidence to infer solicitation had taken place. As far as it has been reported here, the verdict does not in any way challenge the following:

1) That an existing client relationship is an intangible asset (this must be true otherwise Financial Adviser firms would never be worth more than the value of tangible assets within the business).

2) That ownership of this intangible asset is not determined by who advises the client, but by the law of contract (i.e. the firm can own the client rather than the individual adviser)

3) That non-solicitation clauses and non-dealing clauses (if reasonable) are fair under contract law.

4) That actually soliciting or dealing with clients in breach of such a clause would likely result in the opposite of the verdict given today.

Advisers should not take this case as some sort of green light that they automatically have the right to take clients with them when they move firms.

report this

Gordon Hay

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:08

Whilst it is great to see the arrogant TL and Fisher get all that they deserved I'm not sure this is a free for all to advisers to shift clients after a takeover.

It appears clear that one of the crucial factors here was no evidence of solicitation e.g no documents , mailshots etc.. so it shows that clients can move, without breach of contract, if THEY approach the IFA first. Just as it should be.

I also suppose, in reading the coverage, that the sheer arrogance, ignorance and ruthlessness of TL maybe created a less than sympathetic view for the judge - and I only hope any client googling TL sees their submissions for this case which show what a high charging sales driven company they really are.

Well done to the EJ7 for taking them on, and well done to RJ for standing by them

report this

Jenny N . I FA

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:10

Perhaps advisers at Towry will want to leave and join RJ. I do know at least one decent guy at Towry.

report this

Ex TL'er - To Adam Grant

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:10

Dear oh dear - Is Andrew in the office now or is he in a corner at Ye Olde Cock Tavern on Fleet Street drowning his sorrows?

I wonder what his Private Equity Masters think of the latest shenanigans??

report this

MR C.

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:12

NMA please don't delete my last post. We need a sense of humour and the odd giggle to keep us alive....especially in the current climate.

report this

Reg

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:12

Great new for the RJ guys and their families - Great news for those of us who succeed by building trusted client relationships.

I hope Towry are taken to the cleaners for costs and any loss of earnings, damage to personal reputations, stress caused etc.

report this

Hickky

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:14

This has made a grey, overcast day just shine out brightly, and it is a beautiful new day. As yet another ex EJ caught in this nightmare, I cannot be happier for the RJ7, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for the guts that they, and their defence team, showed by taking on the bullies and winning.

Let's hope Fishy's so called friend, Hector who agreed Towry's business strategy (according to Fishy) suffers similar humiliation

report this

Glen McKeown

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:14

It was fascinating reading some of the archived material on this case. The level of vitriol expended against Towry is quite edifying. I worked for them at the end of the 1970s, and, if the web had been invented then, I doubt that the invective would have been much different. I don't know whether to express admiration to a company for sticking so firmly to its (lack of) principles, or just wonder what outstanding business development it can bring to RDR.

There are many advisory firms that have gone to the wall in that time, yet TL thunder on, and by definition are bringing on new clients at a regular rate. It does make one wonder about FSA's analyses and the benefit of RDR.

Will the main benefit of RDR really only be a regularisation of processes to ease life for the FSA or will consumers feel any real benefit? Indeed with the continued existence of TL do consumers really want any improvement or are they happier moaning?

report this

FSA supervision and Monitoring

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:16

RJ7 Surely your reputation has been damaged over this period of time, also your ability to earn money while defending yourself, a legal claim for loss of earnings would be my next move.

I'll be raising a glass tonight.

Well done!

report this

Iain Wishart

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:18

This resounding defeat makes Andrew Fisher look both vindictive and a rather silly person. He should have been surer of his facts when he took on the RJ7. People buy from people.

I had issues like the RJ7 a few years back and shut down the firm who took me on.

report this

Adam Grant

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:19

I'm really sorry to hear that Towry lost the case as they are the best thing since sliced bread. Their model portfolio's are inexpensive and combined with their good performance really are the one's to aspire to,..... Add to that the terrific levels of service provided to the clients and the empathetic way in which the Ex-Co and management team have handled themselves really makes me feel sorry for them,....

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha,....etc (other laughs are available,......)

report this

Hickky

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:19

@jenny n

I found there are a number of good advisers at Towry, forced to go down a particular sales path, and becoming miserable, as there are few challenges to find the best solutions for their clients, only the Towry ones.

There is life after Towry after all!

report this

Neil Liversidge

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:20

@James Clancy: Yes Daniel, can we have the photograph in colour please? I want to see whether he went a sickly green or fluorescent purple.

report this

Fees Fornothing

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:26

Quite pathetic the amount of you gloating at this decision. Towry have every right to protect their assets and there are far too many advisers allowed to simply pick and choose which clients they carry with them and not.

Another feather in the cap for the dodgy IFA who can come and go as they please. Tsk tsk.

report this

stephen haythornthwaite

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:27

Oh dear old smug looking git won't be feling quite so smug today will he.

Oh go on then, hahahahahahhahahhahahaahaha

report this

James Clancy

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:30

@Mr C

Great photo can see the resemblance!

report this

stephen haythornthwaite

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:31

@fees

Get off your high horse and get down in reality city. yes everyone is allowed to protect there assets. But old smug fisher thought he actually owned them as a right simply because he bought a client bank.

There is an awful lot of testimonial on here that decalre his ongoing customer service to be of the worst order and it is noted he doesnt even want a client with les than a 100K.

His empire building by purchase will I hope fall flat on its face

report this

Iain Martin CW

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:33

@Mr C

We have removed your comment.

Clearly people are very passionate about this story but can we avoid comments on this thread turning into personal attacks. They will be removed.

Thanks

report this

peter dawes

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:39

As an ex EJ adviser I'm delighted to hear the news and the RJ guys you deserve our thanks for putting Towry in their place, well done!

report this

TCF

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:41

Picking up on a comment from AF. Attempting his famous positive spin whatever the circumstances, he said the judge had deemed non-solicitation and non-dealing clauses fair and reasonable. As the contracts of the EJ7 were based on the former, I would suggest a 12 month non-dealing clause is yet to be tested in the courts!!

Excellent news and well done the EJ guys.

report this

Sandra Urquhart

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:46

About time too! well done guys!

report this

Jonathan Kirby

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:50

What with the FSA admitting that IFA's are the most trusted and popular brand and now the High Court judge realising that this industry is all about the trust and loyalty between adviser and client, it leaves me ever more bemused as to what it is that the FSA are trying to fix with RDR.

report this

I've been Towry'd and survived

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:52

Congratulations to my ex colleagues. A massive and well deserved slap in the face for Fisher Cowan, Middleton, Percy, villa-clarke and the like.

Unfortunately it will not deter them and the next shambolic takeover is probably already lined up. Poor for the clients poor for the employees and dreadful for the industry. Add another word to the 4 core values....... Arrogance

I hope they are taken back to court to recover as much as possible for losses in revenues, stress etc:

report this

Julian Stevens

Feb 14, 2012 at 15:57

When all the cheering and throwing of hats in the air has subsided, I think many of us might well consider that solicitation probably DID take place. The bottom line is that TL couldn't prove it to the satisfaction of the court and, because AF is such a deeply unpopular character, we're all very pleased to hear that his action has failed, not least because he was demanding such an absurdly inflated damages sum. Had TL's claim been a bit more realistic, his chances of success might well have been better.

In my experience, solicitation is common practice when any consultant moves to a new firm and wants to build a new client bank and an ongoing revenue stream as quickly as possible. I know I've done it in the past and all the consultants who've ever worked for me have done it too when they moved on to pastures new.

Still, let us hope now that RJ's claim against TL for legal expenses succeeds, thereby adding to AF's humiliation.

report this

Paul Barnard

Feb 14, 2012 at 16:03

@Fees Fornothing - I seem to agree with you. I would certainly think more than twice about recruiting additional advisers if they could up stumps with my company's clients in future. Better use of cheaper paraplanners and admin. staff would be a far better strategy.

report this

Leslie Squires

Feb 14, 2012 at 16:09

Well done ex Edward Jones advisers Barry Bennett, Pieter Burger, James Chandler, Wayne Hayhurst, Thomas Spain, Stuart Hutton, and Tracey Simpson

All the very best for the future.

report this

James Walker

Feb 14, 2012 at 16:20

I guess there will be many employers and acquiring businesses looking over employment contracts!!

report this

Paul Howard

Feb 14, 2012 at 16:24

As several has mentioned.....be careful what you wish for.

Your latest adviser leaving may get what you wanted.

report this

Bert Poppins

Feb 14, 2012 at 16:33

For those people who are gloating at the outcome of this case then I hope the schadenfreude doesn't cause too much indigestion. For those of us who run businesses that recruit, train and invest in advisers and support staff then this is a dissappointing outcome. Building value and a business is hard enough without the fact that your main asset i.e. the client isn't in fact yours at all.

I hope RJ are as passive when these advisers decide it is SJP who can fund the new Jaguar.

report this

Jon Lowson

Feb 14, 2012 at 16:34

If any of you really want to read the verdict:

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2012/224.html

Adam Grant and others of similar mind will be dissappointed to learn that the judges opinion was that Towry DID have a legitimate business interest to defend. The Defendants also conceded that the Non-Solicitation clause in the EJ Contract was reasonable and the judge confirmed that both Non Solicitation and Non Dealing clauses can be legally binding, even quoting case Beckett Investment Management Group Ltd v Hall (2007) to support that view.

As I said before, the only thing this decision reveals is that Towry could not produce enough evidence to infer solicitation.

report this

Julian Stevens

Feb 14, 2012 at 16:48

Okay, so TL did have a legitimate business interest to defend and the RJ7 accepted the legitimacy of the non-sol clause in their EJ contracts, but the bottom line is that TL failed to prove that the defendants did actually solicit. Isn't that what the verdict is based upon?

report this

Jon Lowson

Feb 14, 2012 at 16:49

Oh, and the Judge was even of the opinion that none of Towry's actions had repudiated the EJ employment contract. This means that, if Towry had produced evidence that the advisers solicited clients, they would have almost certainly won the case.

report this

Julian Stevens

Feb 14, 2012 at 16:49

I'm sure many of us could add some entertaining voice bubbles to the picture above of AF.

report this

Stanley Kirk

Feb 14, 2012 at 16:58

@Bert Poppins - what is wrong is the business model whereby the client service experience is largely dependent on the relationship with a single person - this is also a severe limiting factor in the growth potential of such businesses - the model needs to change - and drastically - otherwise 'independent advise' will remain a cottage industry.

report this

Julian Stevens

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:03

To Jon Lowson ~ Yes, but the fact is that TL DIDN'T produce the necessary evidence, so it lost the case. What point are you trying to make?

report this

Bob Stephenson

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:03

There seems to be a lot of levity regarding this subject- the sad thing is that the costs will never be fully paid by Towry- more likely that they will only pay the going rate which is about 60% so if the costs for the RJ7 is £930K, they will have costs for themselves of over £370K- not much of a success story for anyone.

I can imagine that an appeal will go in as Mr Fisher seems to be that sort of a person- could be in the courts for a while yet.

report this

Man in Black

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:03

@Jon Lowson

Many thanks for the link - the word Towry wasn't throwing up many results earlier!!

report this

Adam Grant

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:06

The case was brought to court on one founding complaint, the basis that solicitation had taken place and Towry therefore, had a legitimate right to claim for losses.

The lack of evidence however points to the fact that this was clearly a doubtful accusation and there was therefore no case to answer.

These are the only facts that need be considered in making a personal judgement as all other factors are in my opinion, merely "obiter dicta".

report this

Bert Poppins

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:17

@S Kirk I agree however we as an industry are some way from a position whereby it is the company provides the service and not the adviser. A situation exacerbated by this outcome. Relationships will always be very important to the client, however support, proposition, marketing and a regulatory framework in which to operate must be backed-up by robust contracts with the advisers.

I accept covenants are almost impossible to enforce however this episode leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth and actually underlines that the greatest enemy to IFAs is not FSA, RDR or B2C product providers but ourselves.

report this

Bert Poppins

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:20

@Adam Clark - I don't think anyone is questioning the judgment rather the ramifications on our businesses. I would get back to the mirror for impressing yourself and also that online Latin dictionary.

report this

Ex TL'er - To Adam Grant

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:33

@ Bert

EGO reputo vos mos reperio illa tools valde utilis Dappy

report this

Graeme Laws

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:35

I wonder how many of these commentators have read the judgement. I have not. But the British courts have always sniffed at contracts in restraint of trade, and it is bound to be hard to make one of these non-solicitation clauses stick. The only defence against defectors is to ensure that: the client knows, and feels, that he or she has a relationship with the firm; and the adviser knows that his or her job is to build a relationship for the firm.

Easy to say: hard to do. But this failure explains why almost all the big IFA firms have come to grief.

report this

Julian Stevens

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:35

Given the ludicrously inflated size of its claim against the RJ7, I think most people will hope sincerely that TL does indeed get hammered for the whole of RJ's £979,000 legal bill, though surely RJ will have to prove that its legal bills really have run to such a sizeable sum?

As for levity, I think that's a natural reaction to seeing a bully being given a bloody nose, an aching pair of conkers and a size 12 hobnailed boot up the backside ~ it makes you feel good just to picture it happening, doesn't it?

report this

The Party's Over

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:37

Despite the agreed takeover between EJ and TL, the fit was a mis-match.

From EJ's point of view where the choice of investments was pretty much unlimited, clients were being and have been straight-jacketed into one size fits all portfolios and if you had over £100k.

Once clients understood this (and unfortunately many ex-EJ advisers and their clients didn't) the natural thing for them to have done would be to call their adviser and say 'I don't want to go to TL; I want to stay with you'.

I know what business owners are saying on this thread about solicitation and they have a legal right to protect their business but at the same time owing to the relationship an adviser has with the client (or should have), it's always going to be hard to ensure they all stay especially if they are being turfed out of one business model into another which is quite different.

As an ex-EJ adviser, I believe the EJ board members let their own EJ advisers and their EJ clients down big time; they had their own interests at heart as did the TL board.

In their bid on the one hand to offload a company and cut their losses and on the other who thought Kerching! both sides forgot about the bit that really mattered: the client.

The advisers in this case never did and that is why the judgement is so sweet.

Well done the EJ7!

report this

Jon Lowson

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:56

Julian Stevens. I am happy to accept the Judges verdict that solicitation was not proved. I have no axe to grind for Towry.

The point of all my comments has been to counterbalance some of the comments made by others, who seem to be using the verdict to claim that Restrictive Covenants are unenforceable or that it is impossible for a firm to "own" a client relationship.

Adam Grant might think that the only fact that matters is that solicitation did not take place. However, the judges verdict included her "decisions" about all the facts that were contested. These decisions did not all go the defendants way. You can't just ignore the decisions you don't like - that Towry did not breach contract, that they did own a legitimate business interest and that the contract of Employment was reasonable and enforceable.

report this

Julian Sunley via mobile

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:57

Palomon must be so pleased with their investment..........

report this

James Clancy

Feb 14, 2012 at 17:57

@Fees Fornothing

Towry has every right to protect their assets. I would say that many are gloating at this decision is that for years we have had to put up with comments as outlined in one of the sections below

I would also appreciate if you would not refer to the dodgy IFA. Most of the people I know in this industry and those that contribute to this blog to be hard working trustworthy and honest with clients affairs. If they are of a dubious character they would certainly not read this website or contribute to this blog using their real names.

Within section 166 The comment below

Found that Mr Fisher referred in blunt and derogatory terms to the extraordinary mismanagement of Edward Jones in the UK

Stockbroking was finished their was no money to be made in it model was broken and unprofitable; and that individual shares were never appropriate

The Towry core proposition (the IIM) he conveyed the message that the Towry way was the only way, that the FSA considered Towry's business to be the best, and that everyone else in the industry was not up to the task.

That is may be way advisers making their comments

report this

Julian Stevens

Feb 14, 2012 at 18:29

To Jon Lowson ~ I don't know whether Restrictive Covenants are enforceable or not, though I don't think I'd agree with anyone who tried to argue that non-solicitation clauses constitute restrictive covenants.

As I understand it, a clause barring one party from working in the same or in any related industry for a defined period after leaving the service of a firm very probably would constitute a restrictive covenant that might well be nigh on impossible to enforce.

In contrast, a clause binding one party not to endeavour to poach away his employer's clients to a rival firm would constitute nothing more than the employer legitimately protecting his commercial interests. An employer such as TL might not actually be able to establish beyond question rights of ownership and clients are free to appoint any adviser they wish, but TL might well have produced a long list of reasons why it could reasonably lay claim to being the clients' appointed advisor rather than any one individual it happened to employ as one of its representatives. Then again, that's always the problem ~ a firm can never establish, let alone maintain, the same close business relationship that its consultants or those consultants that it acquires when taking over another firm do. It can't be done, people follow people.

But, for all that, the bottom line remains that TL was unable to prove its accusations of solicitation so it lost. On top of that, TL was seriously trying it on to claim £6m of lost revenues in respect of the business of a relative handful of clients that came as part of a client bank that cost it only a quid, so for that reason, as much as any other, I'm glad it lost..

report this

Julian Stevens

Feb 14, 2012 at 18:44

This is interesting:-

Mrs Justice Cox ruled in favour of the defendants and ordered Towry to pay £1.2m in damages.

Robert Campbell, head of litigation for Faegre Baker Daniels, said: “Towry must pay the defendants all of their costs and those costs are to be paid on the indemnity basis.”

Indemnity basis is when the court considers there is something in the way the claim was conducted that, in some way, warrants a more penal cost order.

He said: “Justice Cox has awarded the most generous cost order it is possible to the defendants. Total costs for defendants are £1.2m. Towry must pay half of that within 21 days.

“Towry asked for additional time to make additional payment of 50 per cent. An additional seven days request was declined.

“It will end up paying the vast majority of the balance. It is a most generous cost order that a court could have made in defendant’s favour.”

From this, I think we may infer that the judge didn't like Andrew Fisher one iota more than any of the rest of us or the way in which TL's claim was conducted and framed her judgement accordingly.

It's good to see arrogance.beaten to its knees. Just think ~ a £500,00 fine from the FSA and now a £1.2m damages order for a failed legal action. Oh dear, Mr Fisher ~ you may just be on your way out sooner than you thought and without that pot of gold you've been so much looking forward to. Tee, hee, hee.

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 14, 2012 at 18:49

When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.

report this

Bob Stephenson

Feb 14, 2012 at 18:58

Fantastic cost award- cannot think of another as generous, the justice system really worked this time!!

I am hoping there will be no appeal by Towry but £1.2 million will no doubt make anyone go that one step further down the line. Fingers crossed not for that to happen.

Really glad to see such support for the oppressed in this comment box.!!

report this

Ex TL'er - To Adam Grant

Feb 14, 2012 at 19:16

@ Jon Lowson

Jon - what say you on the comments in court that the ‘principal witness’ has given evidence on oath that has been found to be “unnecessarily intransigent”, “unhelpful”, “unsatisfactory” “unnecessarily argumentative” and “inaccurate”?

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 14, 2012 at 19:20

The administration of justice is the firmest pillar of government.

report this

Grant Connell

Feb 14, 2012 at 19:37

Implications for the much touted Towry flotation?

Congratulations to my former colleagues, I am genuinely delighted for you all. I hope you can now get on with building with your businesses rather than defending your reputations against tawdry allegations.

I understand that the judge's detailed comments are going to make for great reading, unless you're Andrew Fisher that is.

report this

Ted Shaw

Feb 14, 2012 at 19:37

Hopefully they'll soon implode

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 14, 2012 at 19:46

For centuries, the world has heard the oppressed, the downtrodden and the vulnerable cry out for their freedoms, for their rights and for a chance to emerge from the shadows of the tyranny and bloodshed that they had lived with.

report this

Grant Connell

Feb 14, 2012 at 19:54

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/QB/2012/224.html

Paragraphs 879 - 906 make for good reading.

I hope Mr Fisher has someone nearby trained in performing the Heinrich Maneuver.

report this

Jon Lowson

Feb 14, 2012 at 19:57

@Julian Stevens. If you read the judges verdict, you will see that it actually answers a lot of questions raised by commentors here, not just whether solicitation took place or not.

It makes it clear that Restrictive Clauses (which include Non Solicitation and Non Dealing Clauses) ARE enforceable and the judge even quoted case law (Beckett Investment Management Ltd vs Hall - 2007) to support this view. It was agreed that the non solicitation clause in the EJ contract was reasonable and therefore enforceable.

As to whether it is possible to establish beyond question, Towry's right to "ownership" - the judge did just exactly that. She confirmed that Towry had legally acquired the assets of EJ (which included any goodwill, intangible assets, client relationship, client ownership - whatever you want to call it). She acknowledged their right to defend it.

report this

Pat

Feb 14, 2012 at 20:12

I can now take my case to the forefront having suffered 75% loss of my provision for pension.

The pain TL's corproate recklessness and callousness can bring to the clients.

TL can move on with their grand strategies, but this unfortunate client has to bear the blunt of their corporate culture and waste my waking hours in getting redress.

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 14, 2012 at 20:13

A reputation for a thousand years may depend upon the conduct of a single moment.

report this

Adam Grant

Feb 14, 2012 at 20:42

@ Bert Poppins - As you can see, it's Adam Grant,...

As for the latin, some of us are young enough to remember our education and a simple reference from an A Level Law class does not require a on-line translator. I know what it means and it was a valid quote,...

But I'm glad that you took the time to look it up for yourself and now you have learnt something new - see you can do it,...

@ Jon Lowson - you make a fair point.

report this

Bert Poppins

Feb 14, 2012 at 20:58

Apologies Adam Grant. I didn't need to look it up as I too am young enough to remember from my study of the classics basic Latin. I must admit I cannot remember a time where I have quoted Latin, Greek or any ancient mythology since then though. My first mentor told me that anyone who leads with a Latin quote or their academic/professional qualifications is either insecure or hiding something.

report this

Happy Ex-Jones

Feb 14, 2012 at 21:15

Well done EJ7, raising my glass to you tonight!

report this

Julian Stevens

Feb 14, 2012 at 21:34

Upon hearing the verdict, Andrew Fisher is reported to have said "Oh...................."

report this

Adam Grant

Feb 14, 2012 at 22:10

Apologies accepted Bert, but what a shame it is that in all your latter years you have never been in a situation where such specialist knowledge would have been apt. What a sad waste of learning!!

Your mentor however was clearly a wise man, perhaps having wisdom far greater than you or I. But as I am already hiding behind a pseudonym and not daring to reveal my meagre level of qualification to all and sundry for fear of being labelled a fool, I would suggest that your claims of insecurity are somewhat unfounded.

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 14, 2012 at 23:11

There is such a thing as tempting the gods. Talking too much, too soon and with too much self-satisfaction has always seemed to me a sure way to court disaster. The forces of retribution are always listening. They never sleep.

report this

Norman Bates

Feb 14, 2012 at 23:19

Could not have said it better Lara Croft. So, how is your mirror looking?

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 14, 2012 at 23:33

Justice has nothing to do with what goes on in a courtroom; Justice is what comes out of a courtroom.

report this

Norman Bates

Feb 14, 2012 at 23:55

Ah Lara the mirror is cracked then? thought so.

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 15, 2012 at 00:09

Without losers, where would the winners be?

report this

CC deVille via mobile

Feb 15, 2012 at 00:20

Stupid question time....Don't get me wrong, I'm not a fan of towry. However, if you sell something (ie a car) are you still allowed to take benefit from it after walking away with the cheque?

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 15, 2012 at 02:20

Checking the results of a decision against its expectations shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve, and where they lack knowledge or information.

report this

I've been Towry'd and survived

Feb 15, 2012 at 08:47

Whilst internal memo's to staff see this verdict as 'expected' and they are happy with the wording of the verdict and tell all employees what to say to clients to portray themselves in a good light, the embarrassment of the handling of this whole takeover saga until now shows them for who they are.

£500K fine reduced from £1.2m

Loss of Compliance Officer

Head of Marketing went soon after coming in

Highlighted by the FSA for highest number of complaints...( but it wasn't their fault !!!)

Lost court case against the EJ7

What next ? Can Mr Fisher and his cronies stay on for much longer ? What must Palamon make of it all !!!!!

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 15, 2012 at 10:16

What we have witnessed is a text book example of how to turn a paper loss into an actual £1.2m loss. Fantastic wealth management that is?

Gives a whole new context to 'The Valentines Day massacre'.

£500k FSA fine, £1.2m legal costs...these things come in threes so all eyes on what is going to be next....

What is the difference between Facebook and Towry? Facebook will float.

lmao.

report this

I've been Towry'd and survived

Feb 15, 2012 at 10:20

To Julian Stevens: Like a house of cards collapsing we can only hope this is the beginning of the end. But I doubt it. Hopefully Palamon will see sense and sell their share or request that Fisher and Cowan are removed.

report this

Leslie Squires

Feb 15, 2012 at 10:24

@ Lara Croft - I love your pearls of wisdom and your sense of humour.

@ Jon Lowson, why do you feel it is necessary to espouse what others should and should not do, and what opinions they should hold?

report this

James Brooke - Altior Vita

Feb 15, 2012 at 10:40

Here:

http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/faccenda-chicken-ltd-v-fowler-and-others-fowler-v-faccenda-chicken-ltd

is another court case which has significant implications for businesses and their relationships with those whom they believe to be their clients when an employee leaves and sets up or joins a competing business.

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 15, 2012 at 10:55

Knock knock.

Who's there?

Andrew.

Andrew who?

lmao.

report this

Hickky

Feb 15, 2012 at 11:00

As yet another ex EJ and Towry, with more than one year since leaving, there are some important points.

1 When Towry took over EJ, it came up with a load of guff about how it was an ethical company, looked after its clients and would look after the EJ clients and advisers. What really occurred was it wanted certain clients and hardly any advisers longer term.

2 EJ was really a collection of independent operators, earning a cut of the sales income. As a lot of EJ's business was acting as a stockbroker rather than a financial adviser, with fees earned as a broker forming some 40% of income for the firm, the cultures were completely opposed to each other. Fisher et al did not understand this as his past take-overs had been other financial adviser practices. This led to client dissatisfaction, poorly worked out systems, and IFA adviser/stockbrokers demoted to tied agents in everything but title.

3 The EJ business model was flawed and expensive, because it followed an American model that expects stockbroking as well as advice. EJ was unwilling to adapt to multi adviser offices as it should have done, thus cutting overhead costs. Maintaining head (home) office in Canary Wharf was stupidly expensive, and a lower cost home counties location should have been sought. After all the US head office was in St Louis, hardly the financial capital of America!

4 Towry, having paid £1 for EJ, inherited the office space and re-let it, and they found they made a profit. EJ in the US bore a lot of the costs of closing Canary Wharf. EJ paid Towry tens of millions of dollars as compensation but Towry wanted more! Towry also carried forward EJ losses, and probably are still doing so, to minimise any corporation tax. Therefore the benefits to Towry were more than just the clients investments.

5 The arrogence of stating that the Towry way is the only business model going forward post RDR is ingrained in the senior staff there. At every monthly meeting the AUM and EBTDA were early in the agenda, and excessive time spent on these numbers as most longer serving staff are deferred shareholders. The management philosophy is based on greed, bonus' culture and finding ways to do what they want with a nod to compliance. When other options (i.e. non Towry investment) were considered on a client report, the words were cut and pasted from a set text. A nod to independance only.

6 It was also emphasised that if you left and took EJ clients with you, they would sue you and you should be prepared to spend some serious money in your defence.

So all this has been a disaster. A disaster for ex EJ stockbroker/advisers, a disaster for clients, many of whoom have shown their loyalty to their EJ advisers. A disaster for Towry, who have suffered so much reputational risk. A disaster for other employers of advisers, who now find it is more difficult to enforce covenants,.A disaster for Palamon, who hoped it could float in early 2011 and treble its investment, how do they feel now? Lastly a disaster for Andrew Fisher and his board, who surely now must tend their resignations, having cost the firm millions in fines, court costs, reputation and staff morale. Mind you, if they resign they must lose a huge share options on eventual flotation. Tough, I say! Bye Bye.

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 15, 2012 at 11:14

Oh yes. The EBITDA mantra. For Towry this appears to now mean;

Earnings Before Ineptitude Tribulation Damages and Admonishment.

lmao.

report this

Ex Jones

Feb 15, 2012 at 11:44

Strange - No mention of this case in the Press coverage section on the Towry website.

report this

Gordon Hay

Feb 15, 2012 at 11:58

Had a read at the judgement, a fairly damning review of TLs approach to takeovers, client advice and impartiality. Anyone even thinking of investing with them, never mind applying to them for a job, would run a mile.

So many issues there

- arrogance of only wanting the top advisers / clients

- one key reason for the EJ deal was the £250m of losses carried forward !

- poor recruitment process and bad tempered staff meetings with EJ staff

- passing 400 clients to existing TL advisers and asking them to ring them all

- TL advisers so busy doing this they could not make adequate file notes of the meetings

- clearly no evidence whatsoever of solicitation by EJ7 was offered - so why on earth, other than inflating his over blown ego and personal vanity , did Fisher pursue this case ?

His work in building a formidable TL business is now totally undermined by this hugely costly , in terms of money AND TL practices being laid bare to the the public, mistake.

This guy has no credibility left

report this

Ex TL'er - To Adam Grant

Feb 15, 2012 at 13:01

Is there any chance of getting a comment from Palemon on this, seeing as their name is being dragged deeper and deeper into the mire?

C'mon Mr Elson - say (or do) something!

report this

Stuart Turnbull

Feb 15, 2012 at 14:05

Hearty congratulations to the 7 advisers who must have gone through hell.

For all the vitriol and opprobrium being heaped upon AF and his company I would like to take a moment to lay blame where it is due: Edward Jones.

As an EJ advisor you were encouraged to look upon the clients you created as your business, and to rely upon EJ to be there for the long term. Instead they sold out the UK operation to a company with a completely different operating outlook, and did so after many, many months of deliberately lying to the advisers and BOA's that they would be abandoning. EJ, you got your UK ops wrong and then sold us down the river.

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 15, 2012 at 15:55

The truest characters of ignorance are vanity and pride and arrogance.

report this

Norman Bates

Feb 15, 2012 at 16:11

Fair sprinkling of ignorance around here then.....

report this

Paul Barnard

Feb 15, 2012 at 17:40

not to mention rudeness.

report this

Norman Bates

Feb 15, 2012 at 17:51

Could not agree more Paul. Plus really bad puns, poetry and Latin.

report this

Ric Green

Feb 15, 2012 at 18:21

@ Jack Walsh. Nice irony.

report this

JonnieB666

Feb 17, 2012 at 10:25

To Citywire.

I only have one comment to make as everything else appears t have been covered.

Why do you continue to refer to Towry as a National IFA when they only flog their own products as admitted in court by Andy Cowan from Towry?

Any organisation which only sells its own investments is not indpendent so it would be more appropriate to refer to Towry as a National Sales Force and an expensive one at that!

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 17, 2012 at 11:00

We are only falsehood, duplicity, contradiction; we both conceal and disguise ourselves from ourselves.

report this

Ex-Towry Law Employee

Feb 17, 2012 at 18:30

£1.2 Million is a lot of money for Fisher just to fuel his own ego? How much longer will it take his masters to realise what a liability that man is. What goals has he actually achieved since being there to warrant his pay? How many truly great aquisitions has he made? How much has he tangibly grown FUM since his rulei began? The man brings dishonour to both the Towry name and also our profession. He should hang his bulldog head in shame.

report this

Ex TL'er - To Adam Grant

Feb 17, 2012 at 19:32

The problem is that he managed to brainwash most Towry Law advisers when Palemon bought them. The time line was as follows;

Phase 1) Fisher to Palemon - 'great idea - we launch a DIF, make a huge margin on it and than guess what? we actually CHARGE customers for putting them into it! (I say customers deliberately as they only buy a product).

Phase 2) We buy another company - we work out who are good enough to paddle their own canoe's (we encourage them to leave/manage them out) and the rest we get to novate/migrate/move/churn/transfer* their existing client’s assets to our DIF. *insert word of choice

Phase 3) We tell the ones that stay that they will be millionaires. "I want to make 100 millionaires" a group is told. "I want to make £100 million" is what one person in the room hears. Bad acoustics apparently.

Phase 4) We ensure that the one's that stay earn good money in year one, but then in year 2 they are.....erm on a basic salary plus bonus. Much less than they've ever earnt before......but remember the shares!

Phase 5) Hell that worked - do it again. And the Towry guys won't tell the newcomers, as that will destroy share value. Hehehehehe nudge nudge.

Phase 6) Balls - every time we buy a company they all leave and take our clients. Right, sue sue sue.

Phase 7) ok the judge didn't rule in our favour - that's not a loss. Send message out to all employees explaining why we are brilliant.

Phase 8) A MAGNUM OF CHAMPAGNE FOR THE NEAREST FORECAST

report this

The Party's Over

Feb 18, 2012 at 00:41

AF is not the only one.

Ever since I have been in this industry for the last 18 years, you have had the likes of AF churn one sales force after another.

When they have made the millions in one place, they then move to the next, recruiting the same sales force who in turn bring their clients, churn them again, and so it goes on.

It still goes on and it doesn't need me to say who these reprobates are; after all they run most of the upmarket IFA companies going.

They don't give a stuff about clients; it's all about churn, empty promises to hopeful advisers and a fast buck.

If you're an adviser today, put your clients on a platform; serve them well and they will serve you well.

Thereafter make sure you are directly authorised or with a network that does not interfere with the advice you have previously given or what you will give in future.

For example, there is one upmarket company always mentioned on this message board, which if I joined would mean me churning 7 million pounds worth of assets in order for me and them to make meaningful money. Once churned, the clients would have difficulty leaving.

This practice goes on and on and the sad thing is, it is allowed to go on and on.

It's not that I have a soft spot for AF but there are many more like him who this industry look up to; it's time these parasites stopped playing hard and fast with the public.

report this

Ex-Towry Law Employee

Feb 18, 2012 at 07:48

Actually I DO have a soft spot for Fishy - it's called Romney Marsh.......

report this

Norman Bates

Feb 18, 2012 at 19:42

@ Ex-Towry Law Employee Just a suggestion but even in jest, as a pun, it is never a good idea to threaten physical harm to someone online, especially when you use their real name.

As for the rest, ignoring the very odd remarks by a certain lady (screen name) who appears to post comments after enjoying mushroom omelets, hand rolled cigarettes, or possibly sizeable shots of gin, I have read the judgement in full and it seems to me that the judge specifically mentioned that she found no evidence of churning or a requirement to churn on Towry's part. She added that no client was advised to transfer unless it was in their best interests and that no advisor was required to suggest that transfer if it was not in their best interests.

I fail to understand the fury expressed by some that Towry are not interested in people with less than 100,000 pounds. It's not a charity, Towry are in business to make money. We live in a capitalist world, that's how it works. It's called wealth management, not community outreach.

report this

Pat

Feb 18, 2012 at 21:01

Wealth management - pun or jest

Justice Cox was brave to deliver a fair judgement, finding a distinction of rationale at odds with T & C. The generous award of costs demonstrate where the arguments lies.

I was a client.

TL's advisors were polite and tried their best that their level of knowledge and expertise took them (very uneven), of course, motivated more by business than the client's need

Indeed, I can add thar TL's corporate culture stinks. I suffer from it and will suffer for the rest of my pensionable life. Has there been any evidence of improvement apart from widening their social enticements for more business.

They should not be in wealth managment. Wealth managemernt is to manage 'money', which they don't.

They advise/sell products on fee basis. The more mess the products create, the more the clients have to pay for meetings. In the end, they just shrug their shoulders and leave you in the cold.

Dare anyone to contradict me on TL's business culture.

report this

TCF

Feb 18, 2012 at 23:22

Once again there has been comment on the Towry principles of business, with specific reference to moving clients into their own funds.

The whole Towry business proposition and the vast majorityof their profit comes from clients (customers in the case of Towry) investing in their in-house funds. If they were truely independent and relied on fees (without having to recommend their in house funds), they would not exist in their present format.

The test of independence is not having to recommend solutions that your business requires to exist.

In my opinion Towry are morally bankrupt and anyone who has seen the operaton from the inside knows his to be the case. Perhaps the banking background of certain key members of the management team holds some clues!!

report this

Norman Bates

Feb 18, 2012 at 23:29

Lara Lara Lara, gin blossoms are so unattractive, a little restraint is probably in order.

As for the comment threatening physical harm towards another person, in this case Fisher. This has been taken through the courts a number of times and is established as an unwise action. I would not be at all surprised if Citywire remove the comment. It leaves them open to complaint/legal action by the police should anyone be inspired to act on the comment, meant in jest ot otherwise.

report this

Ex TL'er - To Adam Grant

Feb 19, 2012 at 17:47

Master Master Master Bates - what on earth are you going on about? Is mother not happy with you?

I've just had a look in the Romney Marsh Times and in fact there are a few jobs up for grabs. They include a 'shop assistant' for a barn shop, a groceries 'online supplier' and a 'post person' with driving RML044309.

Now it seems to me that my fellow blogger was merely commenting on the fact that AF may require a change of career (although quite why any of the company's advertising would consider him for a position is anyone's guess). The AF motto of business; "If it ain't broke, fix it, 'till it is".

So having read back through the blogs, there is only one person who actually mentions physical harm towards Mr F; and that is.........erm..........you.

So either you are one of his cronies that is truly gutted that the you have been shafted or you are indeed him. If it's the latter, I really wouldn't beat yourself up over it.

Oh and if comments on blogs leads to an inspiration to act then please read below;

FISHER RESIGN

p.s. that was NOT in jest.

report this

Norman Bates

Feb 19, 2012 at 18:40

As childish as your friend with her fondness for gin I see. We all know exactly what you meant.

As for resignation. Why? Should the barrister who advised the company resign? The judge found no evidence of churning or forcing clients to move their money if not in their best interests. She found the Towry contract to be reasonable. Should she resign? Just because you don't agree with that part of her judgement?

Even with the loss of the case the company has made on the original deal and as others here have mentioned, how far would you trust people who believe they can take anything they want when moving to another company? I know who I would not employ. Who is calling for his resignation? Just a handful of you on here. The same handful who have been predicting he would be out of there more than 2 years ago. You might want to check out those jobs as your fortune-telling career is spluttering a bit.

I have said all along that no matter who won the case it would be a double-edged sword for the winner and for the industry. See you post RDR, you will have a lot more time to post schoolboy jokes involving the pleasures of the flesh.

report this

Ex-Towry Law Employee

Feb 19, 2012 at 18:53

Mmm methinks we have outed the demon amidst us here ! All Fishy has done is shoot himself in the foot.and set a legal precident which scuppers his whole business plan - i.e aquire , treat the existing advisers poorly and then try to churn the business book increasingly disillusioned and diminishing emplyed "advisers." brainwashed by his mantra. I hope that the legal costs of this fruitless ego-trip come out of his vasty inflated share options.....

report this

JonnieB666

Feb 19, 2012 at 19:19

Whilst the judge might not have found any evidence of churning that doesn't mean it doesn't go on. They didn't find and WMD's in Iraq but we all know Saddamm Hussein attacked his own people with poisoned gas.

Anyone who knows anything about Towry and also in its previous guise of John Scott & Partners knows exactly what goes on within this organisation and all at the behest of Mr Fisher, Mr Cowan & Co. The only way for advisers within Towry to reach their huge targets is to switch as much as possible into the Towry inhouse investment funds which are simply broker funds under any other name.

If a company has targets, it must therefore have sales people in one way or another. It doesn't matter what fancy title you attach to the position, they need to sell themselves and the services of their organisation. The Towry advisers simply flog one of the half dozen Towry in-house Broker Funds just as if they worked for the Prudential or any other company.

These days these in house investment funds are called DIF's so it'll be interesting to see how these are viewed by the FSA/FCA if adviser firms are not allowed to benefit from the charges within such funds as this is one of the main sources of income for Towry advisers.

Mr Fisher has simply upset the whole industry by claiming the Towry way is the only way and preaches from his ivory tower with a holier than thou attitude. His organisation charges significant fees and also takes a hefty chunk in commission both in relation to the trail commission it receives from firms it has taken over which it refuses to transfer to other adviser firms if the investor leaves Towry.

Their ongoing charges in their Broker funds are simply commission in another guise and everyone knows it. A 2% fee is the same as a 2% commission so playing with words makes no difference to the outcome for the client.

He simply gets up everyone's nose and in my opinion he is a self righteous parasite who has no regard for anyone except himself.

report this

Jack Walsh

Feb 19, 2012 at 19:21

Surely better for all concerned that you're ex TL ! Did they really treat you so badly that you've turned so bitter? Pretty clear you never worried the top of the sales league from your purile rantings. Just grow up will you?

report this

Ex-Towry Law Employee

Feb 19, 2012 at 19:36

You clearly are in no position to comment sir. Yes I was treated that badly and far from being accurate you are very wrong. I was amongst the very best - which I guess is the benchmark by which every organisation is judged. Not bitter - simply accurate. Love to meet you for a beer sometime.

Well done the EJ guys

report this

Jack Walsh

Feb 19, 2012 at 19:46

Beer always sounds good. If you were amongst the very best surely they would have moved heaven and earth to keep you? Why don't you share the story and we can make our own mind up? Would be interesting to hear who you moved to too?

report this

Ex-Towry Law Employee

Feb 19, 2012 at 20:08

You miss the point - they don't want the best - simply brain-washed mediocre non-entrepreneurs who they can intimidate to their will. Hopefully they TL judgement has proved the flaw. Most true Wealth Managers need volume to survive .Towry have neither volume or inspired leadership.

Have a great week.

report this

Norman Bates

Feb 19, 2012 at 20:32

I think we all get the point. Simply the best you were - in your own imagination. The Towry judgement has proved many things. The judge found no evidence of churning or requirement to do so. Or are you saying the judge was wrong? You can't have it both ways.

As for volume - they appear to have that in spades. Leadership? You don't like the leadership when it is strong and now you imply it is not strong? Do you actually live on a merry-go-round?

Interesting that you refuse to elaborate. You always describe yourself as 'Ec Towry Law Employee' Were you shown the door before or after Fisher bought the company?

report this

Adam Grant

Feb 19, 2012 at 21:15

@ Norman Bates - yes, the judge was wrong.

As an adviser with Edward Jones and then Towry after the takeover, the remaining advisers were targeted specifically to churn our clients' (and the clients of the advisers who had left) investment portfolios' and reinvest the money into the Towry IIM. In fact they were so desperate for us to churn as much as possible, they even lowered the "suitability" requirement from £100,000 to £10,000 therefore making it "more" suitable for more clients. If the client had extra money, well that was just dandy. The only time it wasn't "suitable" was when the client had their invetment money tied up in a bond which had a surrender penalties, and investment costs totalling more than 10%.

Even those with low value personal pension funds (£10,000 or more of course) were advised that the Towry SIPP, once again with money invested into the IIM, was a more suitable investment vehicle.

BTW - I resigned,...

report this

Norman Bates

Feb 19, 2012 at 21:43

Adam the judge was wrong? So therefore she should have foundin favour of Towry. OK.

Of course situation is all the fault of Towry? Had it escaped your notice that no matter how great youthink you were, EJ UK was losing millions of pounds, that all of their money was managed in St. Louis, that they quit the UK in the blink of an eye having sold to the only company that would even consider taking over the mess they were leaving and that had Towry not bought them out all of the UK EJ employees would have been out of work overnight and with no safety net at all? If that had happened do you really think you would have got any kind of pay out, severance, holiday pay, job offer, anything at all? Oh right, you would have sued their HQ in St. Louis and out of the goodness of their dear mid-western hearts they would have paid you millions because you were so great and had made so much money for them. Want to buy some swamp land? I hear there a nargain going in Florida.

report this

Adam Grant

Feb 19, 2012 at 22:58

No Norman, because the court case wasn't about churning of portfolio's was it. It was about solicitation/non solicitation of clients.

Have you actually read anything remotely connected to the case, or are you just fancying a bit a trolling diatribe. Either way, the picture you paint of yourself seems to bear an uncanny resemblance to a horse's ass,...

report this

Pat

Feb 19, 2012 at 23:01

Wealth Management through Towry,or, Butlins - which one is likely to gratify!

report this

Norman Bates

Feb 19, 2012 at 23:27

Adam, I have read the entire judgement. Have you? Either the lady was right, or she was wrong. Which is it?

Her ruling was based in part on the entire churning/forcing movement of money/contracts and she made many points and commented on those issues - therefore all of it is valid. You can't pick and choose.

As for horses and their body parts.... mirror Adam?

Meanwhile you have made no response to my points about EJ, the fact that only Towry would even touch it with a barge pole and without that hand out, all of the EJ UK employees would have had nothing.

So it didn't end well for you. Get over it. One can only assume you were/are not quite the hot shot you thought you were.

Is Butlins still going? Ah yesafter a quick Google search I see it is, with a new red coat design. Ex-TL-er and Adam and Pat, I am sure you will look splendid! I won't see you, I holiday is rather more salubrious places but remember, all employment is honourable employment so don't let it get you down.

report this

Lara Croft

Feb 19, 2012 at 23:59

Well well. Does it not appear that Master Bates may indeed walk the hallowed corridors of the HR department at Towry Towers, Western Road, Bracknell Industrial Estate?

It is fairly well commented that even the very best at Towry in regards target league tables were never offered heaven and earth to stay if they also happened to have mind of their own and did not buy into the 'brand'.

Those that have left have nothing to lose or gain by telling their experiences as it was; and those still there have little choice but to continue to toe the line. Perhaps some may indeed still be a little bitter but then many in this country still retain ill feeling towards their school bully many years after leaving the excuse for an educatonal system.

One would have to question why, given the number of firms in this sector and relative ex customers / ex employees, that Towry appears to generate so much animosity toward them; ranging from 'treatingcustomersshabbily.com' to the general financial blogs.

Why is that? What provokes and propgates such a level of ill will and pleasure at their losing in court? That in itself seems a USP;does it not?.

report this

Norman Bates

Feb 20, 2012 at 00:17

Lara Lara Lara - tanked up again and enhancing the profits of Gordon's Gin or more hopefully Sapphire Blue stocks yet again? SB is much nicer.

Sorry to disappoint, but no I have never been to any Towry office, Bracknell or otherwise. I can prove that and Citytwire can back me up.

You mention the 'excuse for an educational system'. I am so sorry, I should have realised how badly you were let down. It all makes a bit more sense now.

report this

Hickky

Feb 20, 2012 at 09:09

Morning! Well this keeps rumbling on, which asks the question, Why?

It is my belief that there are so many ex EJ/TL people out there who got shafted either way.

They got shafted by EJ who sold them out to TL believing the tripe that TL were an honourable company who had the best interests of their clients and staff at heart.

They got shafted by a report from accountants who engineered the takeover.

They got shafted by the EJ management who did not recognise the cost base and profitability were not in sync.

They got shafted because the clients that they had personally sought out, signed up with no help from EJ were no longer their clients.

They got shafted by TL because if they signed with them they were expected to shaft their clients, and others who did not sign up.

they got shafted by TL when once the bulk of their clients were signed, they got managed out.

then they got shafted by some 'impartial observers' who think all EJ advisers were awful.

Let me tell you, I now walk bow legged!

Well done EJ7

report this

Adam Grant

Feb 20, 2012 at 09:16

On Norman, you made a statement and then asked a question, to which I gave an answer which you didn't like. Only those at Towry would continue in the face of a severe beating in court, to try to put a positive spin on their loss. No wonder the toilets were always full. Those new vanity mirrors were certainly in the right place - perhaps you have one too?

And why should I answer your moot point about Towry being the only ones foolish enough to take on the Edward Jones debacle. It bears no relevance to this massive legal loss Towry have suffered. Perhaps the sheer arrogance with which they assumed all and sundry would bow down before the mighty Ex-Co and IIM was their downfall and maybe they even thought the great British legal system would do the same. Apparently not,....

Oh and thanks for the hot tip on Butlins, however on this occasion it is not needed. But if I do ever need to find another job, I'll be sure to give you a call and let you know as you do seem to have a liking of donkey work,....

Enjoy your salubrious holidays and watch out for those Heli-skiers!!

report this

leave a comment

Please sign in here or register here to comment. It is free to register and only takes a minute or two.

Sorry, this link is not
quite ready yet