Tullett Prebon comes out on top after bitter High Court battle with rival BGC

INTER-dealer broker BGC Partners will have to pay damages and legal costs that could run into eight figures, after a High Court judge yesterday ruled it had unlawfully conspired to recruit ten brokers from rival Tullett Prebon.

The ruling ends a bitter legal battle which has been raging for just short of a year between Tullett, headed by veteran Terry Smith, and BGC, run by president Shaun Lynn in London.

In addition to the payment of astronomical legal costs and damages, which will be thrashed out in a further trial if the firms cannot come to a mutual agreement, Tullett has also demanded that the individual brokers involved pay back almost £1.3m of re-signing and bonus payments, net of tax.

The case centres around allegations that BGC orchestrated a “poaching raid” on Tullett’s business by attempting to recruit at least 55 of its top broking staff in London. Ten eventually agreed to leave the firm.

Justice Jack yesterday upheld Tullett’s claim that Tony Verrier – its former chief operating officer, who joined BGC in January last year – had plotted with BGC’s management to persuade some of his former colleagues to breach their employment contracts.

BGC said it was pleased at the court’s conclusion that its employment contracts are “proper and appropriate”, rejecting a further assertion from Tullett that its contracts and offers of advance signing payments were unlawful.

An injunction preventing the ten brokers from taking up their positions at BGC was lifted last week.