UK regulator bans money market broker after poaching spree

Wed Jan 29, 2014 8:25am EST

LONDON Jan 29 (Reuters) - Britain's financial regulator has banned one of London's most prominent money market brokers from ever working in the UK financial services industry after he poached staff from Tullett Prebon when he joined rival BGC Partners.

The Financial Conduct Authority had banned former BGC executive Anthony Verrier back in 2012 after a High Court case between BGC and Tullett Prebon raised concerns about his integrity.

Verrier recently dropped his appeal against the lifetime ban, the FCA said.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), created last April after its predecessor was abolished, has continued to crack down on market conduct with fines and bans in an effort to deter dishonest and unscrupulous behaviour in an industry dogged by scandals.

The High Court ruled in 2010 that BGC, its president Shaun Lynn and Verrier, had conspired to induce 10 Tullett brokers to defect to their firm. Verrier had joined BGC from Tullett a year earlier.

The judge agreed with Tullett's claims that Verrier and Lynn used sham constructive dismissal claims to deliver Tullett employees to BGC earlier than they would have been entitled to under their Tullett contracts.

The scale of BGC's raid on Tullett and the well-documented animosity between Tullett Chief Executive Terry Smith and Verrier drew widespread interest to the case at the time.

The High Court found that "Verrier stuck to the truth where he was able to, but departed from it with equanimity and adroitness where the truth was inconvenient".

Verrier was also found to have lost or disposed of eight Blackberrys to cover his tracks in the 12 months he was trying to poach Tullett brokers.

Interdealer brokers match buyers and sellers of currencies, bonds and swaps in a fiercely competitive market. Several long-running feuds have in the past erupted between the major players in the industry, over issues such as poaching and patent infringement.

Commenting on the ban, Tracey McDermott, the FCA's director of enforcement and financial crime, said Verrier should have been a role model for others.

"The judge's findings about his conduct made it clear he fell far short of that. Trust will not be restored in financial services unless professionals within it can be relied upon to act with integrity," she added.