Wealth manager Raymond James today won what may prove to be a landmark court case against rival Towry, which had accused seven Raymond James advisers of unlawfully soliciting its clients.
A decision in the case was handed down at the Royal Courts of Justice this afternoon.
The Honourable Mrs Justice Cox dismissed the claim by Towry that the seven advisers - who left the company after it acquired Edward Jones in 2009 - had broke their contracts by contacting their former clients.
"Having regard to the whole evidence in this case, the allegations against Raymond James do not withstand scrutiny", the judgement reads.
Towry began legal action against the seven advisers - Barry Bennett, Pieter Burger, James Chandler, Wayne Hayhurst, Thomas Spain, Stuart Hutton and Tracey Simpson - and their new employer, Raymond James, last year.
They had previously worked for Edward Jones, which was acquired by Towry - then Towry Law - in 2009.
The advisers left Towry shortly afterwards, but the company claimed they broke non-solicitation clauses in their contracts by contacting their former clients.
Towry said that some 400 clients transferred investments worth more than £33m from Towry to Raymond James, who they joined in early 2010.
It was seeking damages of £6m which it said resulted from the actions of the advisers.
During the case, the court heard allegations the advisers "conspired" with each other and their new employer to break their employment contracts and damage Towry's commercial interests.
The defendents were alleged to have signed non-solicitation clauses, which prevented former employees contracting Towry clients for 12 months.
The former Edward Jones advisers alleged Towry broke their employment contracts first, by adopting "threatening" behaviour, and preventing clients from excercising their freedom of choice as consumers.
Following 2016 thematic review
December 2018 or early 2019
Feasibility study due
'Let’s be bold enough to demand change'
Joint life second death option added to relieve tax burden on couples gifting assets