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Why we quit Brewin for Charles Stanley: Leicester Six reveal warts and all

by James Phillipps on Apr 03, 2014 at 14:52

Why we quit Brewin for Charles Stanley: Leicester Six reveal warts and all

Allegations of ‘risky’, ‘heavy-handed’, ’short-sighted and damaging’ policies are being bandied about in the High Court battle between Brewin Dolphin and Charles Stanley.

The six employees quit Brewin’s Leicester office to join Charles Stanley last year, prompting Brewin to issue a writ claiming breach of contract and compensation for damages.

In the 41-page defence document, the Leicester six pull no punches in describing why they became ‘seriously disillusioned’ with their former employer.

The document reads like a template for the tensions that can exist between the HQs of national wealth management companies and their regional offices.

The six had all worked at Brewin for between eight and 13 years, but the defence claims a number of long-held grievances finally came to a head leading them to walk out of the office, which managed around £800 million, last March.

Divisional directors Christopher Hailes and David Coulson were the longest-serving, having moved across when Brewin acquired Hill Osborne in 2000.

Office head Ed Cufflin and divisional directors Simon Hopewell and Stephen Baker were hired as a team from Quilter in July 2005 and business development manager Adrian Sawyer joined the following month.

Of course this is just one side of the story and our report of Brewin’s High Court writ shows how Brewin views the dispute as multiple breaches of contract. However, the nature of the allegations may well resonate with many regional wealth managers across the industry.

‘Having to give up contacts to a new nearby regional branch’

Apparently all went well in the early years, but the team’s first major gripe arose in 2008 when ‘without any adequate warning or consultation’ Brewin opened a nearby Nottingham branch.

Sawyer claims he ‘was asked to relinquish his contacts with around 100 intermediary firms across the East Midlands and pass these to the new Nottingham office’. The six claim this not only caused ‘material harm’ to these existing relationships, but also resulted in ‘material damage’ to the Leicester office’s business.

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3 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Philip Milton

Apr 03, 2014 at 18:16

It always bemuses me.... whether or not such contracts are legally binding..... but conversely, why sign a contract in the first place if you're not intending to honour its terms at the end, whatever happens? Or, what sort of integrity is involved if you believe it is acceptable to go against such contract when relationships change?

If there is a gardening leave period or a no-contact or no direct solicitation clause, then shouldn't it be adhered to regardless of your personal financial circumstances.... or even one could say the legality proven or otherwise.... don't sign in the first place if you don't like it.... and is any new firm likely to receive the same treatment or mete out the same behaviour if the 'same thing' happens in the future...?

What do others think? Is it simply a case of Brewins yesterday, Charles Stanley today and someone else tomorrow?

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Mr X

Apr 03, 2014 at 18:18

This is riveting!

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David Cowell

Apr 03, 2014 at 21:06

The answer to Philip's question is don't work for a large firm; keep it small and personal or take the consequences. Perhaps these people haven't the confidence to go it alone?

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