UK: FSA Sanctions In Team Move Cases

Last Updated: 6 June 2012
Article by Christopher Fisher, Angela Hayes and Elizabeth Hodgkinson

Originally published May 31, 2012

Keywords: FSA, sanctions, interdealer brokers, civil ruling

In Spring 2010, we published an Update on the "Tullett Prebon Plc v BGC Brokers LP" case. In this much-publicised and long-running battle between rival interdealer brokers, the High Court took a dim view of BGC's conduct when poaching a team of brokers from Tullett. It took an even dimmer view of the conduct of Anthony Verrier, the former COO of Tullett.

Having thought that this dispute had long drawn to a close, the FSA has brought it to the forefront again by taking the unusual step of banning Mr Verrier from ever again working in a regulated activity in the financial services industry. In this alert, we shall consider why the FSA thought it appropriate to come to such a decision following a civil ruling, and also consider how the FSA's reaction could have an impact on team move cases in the future.

The facts

In 2008, Mr Verrier resigned from Tullett and went to work as the "number two" at BGC. Shortly after joining, Mr Verrier embarked upon a campaign to recruit brokers from Tullett, concocting a false constructive dismissal argument in an attempt to release the team from their contracts. When nine brokers resigned on instruction from Mr Verrier, Tullett commenced proceedings against BGC and the individual brokers, claiming, amongst other things, conspiracy and inducing breach of contract and seeking injunctive relief.

In the High Court in March 2010, Mr Justice Jack gave a damning judgment against BGC. Notably, he found that Mr Verrier had, when giving evidence, "stuck to the truth where he was able to, but departed from it with equanimity and adroitness where the truth was inconvenient". He also made short shrift of Mr Verrier's evidence that he had "a history of frequently losing BlackBerrys", finding that it was inconceivable that eight BlackBerrys could go missing in 12 months; instead, he had deliberately mislaid some of the 'phones when he was concerned they might contain "inconvenient material".

The Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's findings and, in April 2011, a private settlement was reached for an undisclosed sum.

The FSA's reaction

On 16 May 2012 the FSA published a decision notice indicating that it has decided to prohibit Mr Verrier from performing any function in relation to any regulated activity in the financial services industry. The FSA based its decision not on its own investigation, but on the High Court's findings. The FSA's view is that the court ruling confirmed that Mr Verrier is not a fit and proper person due to concerns over his honesty, integrity and reputation.

This marks only the second time in the FSA's history that it has used the outcome of a previous court case as the basis for a ban on an individual. It is the first time that the FSA has taken action over a team move case. As a result, it has no doubt come as quite a shock to Mr Verrier.

It should be noted, however, that Mr Verrier is contesting the ruling and it has been referred to the Upper Tribunal. Mr Verrier claims that the decision is a "significant extension" of the FSA's reach and was done without considering his explanation. The Tribunal may uphold, vary or cancel the FSA's decision.


The FSA's Final Notice quotes numerous findings of fact from the High Court judgment that were unfavourable to Mr Verrier and which have formed the basis of the FSA's findings. Most of these relate to the extent to which Mr Verrier had lied and had encouraged others to do so. On any view, such findings of fact are relevant to the FSA's "fit and proper" test as indicating that Mr Verrier's honesty and integrity fell short of the standard expected by the regulator. However, in its overall Summary of Reasons two main quotes are relied upon: both "his adroitness where the truth was inconvenient" (i.e. he had lied to the court) but also:

"Mr Verrier was found to have participated in an unlawful means conspiracy, the unlawful means including the inducement of the broker defendants to breach their contracts of employment with Tullett by leaving early without lawful justification".

The references to "unlawful" and "lawful" in this quote are references to the civil law: the breaching of the employment contracts by the employees and the civil tort of conspiracy to induce that breach. Unfortunately, we are left with no clarity over the FSA's likely stance to orchestrated team moves where, though behaviour may be clandestine, no deliberate lies are told to anyone. There is also no guarantee that any decision of the Upper Tribunal on the appeal will provide more clarity on this. It would indeed be a "significant extension" of the FSA's reach if it considers that its role as policeman of "proper" behaviour extends to breaches of contract in general business disputes involving FSA regulated entities.

The FSA's ban of Mr Verrier will no doubt make employees and teams in FSA regulated entities exercise much greater caution and care in the way they behave in a potential team move situation.


Mr Verrier's behaviour as disclosed in the High Court's judgment was at the particularly egregious end of the kinds of behaviour we see in team moves. Our view is that it was the exceptional circumstances of Mr Verrier both lying under oath and constructing a false constructive dismissal argument that led the FSA to take the steps it did. We doubt that the FSA would seek to ban or fine individuals just for being involved in a team move that came about without deliberate lies being told to the employer as this would not be sufficient to call their honesty and integrity into question. Indeed, it may not even be sufficient for an individual to lie to their employer; it may have been the lying in court and the elaborate constructive dismissal argument that were the distinguishing factors in Mr Verrier's case.

We do believe, however, that the FSA's decision is illustrative of their hardening stance against wrongdoing in the City. The decision could provide a new weapon in the armoury of employers looking to defend against team defections. Alerting the FSA to an employee's conduct in orchestrating a team move is no doubt something that regulated employers will be considering with increased frequency and the potential sanctions are quite possibly a greater deterrent than threats of damages or injunctions. Nevertheless, this should, of course, only be considered in particularly serious cases and with the benefit of legal advice.

Learn more about our Employment and Financial Services Regulatory & Enforcement practices.

Visit us at

Mayer Brown is a global legal services provider comprising legal practices that are separate entities (the "Mayer Brown Practices"). The Mayer Brown Practices are: Mayer Brown LLP and Mayer Brown Europe – Brussels LLP, both limited liability partnerships established in Illinois USA; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and registered in England and Wales number OC 303359); Mayer Brown, a SELAS established in France; Mayer Brown JSM, a Hong Kong partnership and its associated entities in Asia; and Tauil & Chequer Advogados, a Brazilian law partnership with which Mayer Brown is associated. "Mayer Brown" and the Mayer Brown logo are the trademarks of the Mayer Brown Practices in their respective jurisdictions.

© Copyright 2012. The Mayer Brown Practices. All rights reserved.

This Mayer Brown article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions