VETERAN fund manager Patrick Evershed has today launched his long-awaited employment case against Henderson Group, the company that inherited the action after it bought out New Star in 2009.
Evershed claims he was unfairly dismissed from New Star after sending a whistleblowing email alleging that John Duffield, the founder of the firm, was bullying staff to such an extent that the performance of the company’s funds was suffering.
Evershed, 70, is seeking £1.5m damages from Henderson Group. He is represented by Daphne Romney QC of Cloisters, the employment specialist who defended Dennis Wise in his unfair dismissal case against Leicester City FC.
The case hinges on whether Evershed was unfairly dismissed, as he claims, or whether he resigned, as Duffield maintains. Duffield, 72, now a senior partner at Brompton Asset Management, has repeatedly denied any claims of bullying.
Evershed joined New Star in 2002 to manage the Select Opportunities Fund, which had assets under management of £200m at its peak.
He was “initially friends” with Duffield, Evershed told City A.M., but became concerned that Duffield’s behaviour was “seriously demoralising” New Star’s fund managers. On 18 September 2008 he made a formal complaint via email to New Star’s HR department, alleging that Duffield had been “vile to most of the fund managers for several years”.
Evershed claims he was asked to leave the building within 15 minutes of sending the email by New Star’s chief executive Howard Covington. Subsequently, Evershed alleges, his solicitors received a letter from New Star saying he was suspended from work until he had been seen by a psychiatrist approved by the company.
“I am saying that sending that letter constituted constructive dismissal,” said Evershed. A verdict is expected by the end of the month.
This article was modified on November 7 2011.