Verrier takes case to tribunal after embarking on poaching spree when he left Tullett Prebon to join BCG Partners
The City regulator has moved to ban one of the City’s most senior money market brokers, Tony Verrier, after he embarked on a poaching spree when he quit Tullett Prebon to join the broker’s arch-rival BGC Partners.
Verrier is taking the case to tribunal after the Financial Services Authority ruled he was “not a fit and proper person due to concerns over his honesty, integrity and reputation”.
The FSA based its decision on a high court ruling. Tullett brought the case after Verrier attempted to hire 13 former colleagues from the firm where he had been the second most senior executive after Terry Smith, in 2009.
It is unusual for the FSA to rely entirely on court findings to ban a regulated individual. But Simon Morris, lawyer at CMS Cameron McKenna, said the FSA had done the right thing in following the court decision. “Once the high court has determined that someone is dishonest there is no need for the FSA to replicate the process. The FSA’s decision has followed due process and Verrier can now test it before the tribunal,” Morris said.
The high court had found Verrier induced brokers to breach their contracts and that he “stuck to the truth where he was able to, but departed from it with equanimity and adroitness where the truth was inconvenient”.
Between April 2008 and April 2009 Verrier lost or disposed of eight BlackBerries. The FSA said while Verrier argued that he had a history of losing BlackBerrys, the court had found it was “inconceivable” that these had gone missing and had been deliberately lost because they might contain “inconvenient material”.
Verrier had resigned from Tullett on 28 August 2008 and told the firm he had been constructively dismissed on 3 September. He was prohibited from working for BGC until January 2009 when he became the “number two” in the London arm of the US-based company.
However, the court heard that he had dinner with Tullett employees before then and had intended a substantial recruiting exercise from Tullett which “was in part revenge for the way he felt he had been treated by Tullett”.
No one from BGC was immediately available for comment although the FSA described Verrier as a “senior executive” at the firm, appearing to confirm that he continued to work there.
Tracey McDermott, the FSA’s acting director of enforcement and financial crime, said the regulator had concluded he was not “fit and proper” to work in the industry.
“One of our fundamental requirements for approved persons is that they must act with honesty and integrity. This is to ensure not only that their customers and clients are treated properly but also that the regulator can have trust and confidence in what we are being told about the way businesses are being run,” she said.
The FSA cited conclusions by the judge, who had said: “Mr Verrier decided that, come what may, that is, whether or not the recruits and each of them had good grounds, weak grounds, or no grounds, to claim constructive dismissal, within a short period of their signing with BGC he would instruct his recruits to leave Tullett en masse … It was Mr Verrier’s plan to do what he could to induce Tullett to ‘foul up’ and to give grounds for alleging constructive dismissal.”
On 25 March 2009, Tullett had sought an injunction against BGC preventing employees from being hired and shortly afterwards 10 of the 13 who had been intending to leave told Tullett they believed they had been constructively dismissed.