Your IndustryMay 22 2013

Ashcourt vows to ‘protect interests’ after contract ruling

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BySimoney Girard

National financial advisory firm Ashcourt Rowan will “robustly” defend its contractual clauses with advisers, Jonathan Polin has stated.

Following the High Court decision on 14 May, the group chief executive said: “We have a team of highly-qualified advisers who continue to provide an excellent level of service to clients.

“I believe it is vital for all companies to protect the interests of shareholders, other stakeholders and, most importantly, our clients.”

His comments follow the High Court ruling in the case of adviser Carlton Hall who quit his £100,000 a year job with Ashcourt Rowan Financial Planning and was challenged under anti-competition clauses in his contract that had it succeeded in full would have blocked him becoming a director of rival firm Fidelius.

Mr Justice Andrew Smith backed Mr Hall’s claim that post-termination covenants in his contract with Ashcourt Rowan were an unreasonable restraint of trade.

However the judge upheld two issues brought by Ashcourt Rowan based on other provisions of his contract, including covenants of non-solicitation and the nature of ‘gardening leave’.

A statement by Ashcourt Rowan said: “We note the ruling from the court on the departure of Mr Hall and are delighted that two of the three key issues we brought have been upheld; the issues of non-solicitation and gardening leave.

“The confirmation of our rights on these issues, and the protection of confidential information, is important for our business and the industry as a whole.”

It is not yet known if Ashcourt Rowan intends to appeal the decision. Mr Polin said: “We will be resolute in all instances where I believe we need to protect those interests. As others have done in the industry we will be robust in defence of this clause.”