Tullett set to square up to BGC in court

TULLETT Prebon and BGC Partners will this week commence battle in the High Court, as the City hangs attentively on every word to glean sensational details about the aggressive high-octane world of inter-dealer broking.<br /><br />Tullett, led by City veteran Terry Smith, alleges that BGC tried to poach&nbsp; at least 55 of its top broking staff in a push to destabilise its London business. <br /><br />The case was brought after BGC hired Tony Verrier, Tullett&rsquo;s former chief operating officer, in January this year as its general manager for London and Europe. <br />Tullett claims that Verrier was involved in trying to persuade some of his former colleagues to join him at his new workplace, culminating in a number of them failing to renew their contracts.<br /><br />BGC and Verrier are refuting the claims, arguing that any new hires at the firm were part of a continuing recruitment drive.<br /><br />A spokeswoman said: &ldquo;BGC Partners continues to expand geographically, enter new product areas, and increase its broker headcount. This means that the firm is consistently sought out by some of the marketplace&rsquo;s most experienced brokers, and continues to attract top talent. As such we fully contest these allegations.&rdquo;<br /><br />The hearing, which has already been postponed from July, is due to begin in the middle of the week.<br /><br />It comes just weeks after another employment dispute claim was filed by Tullett against BGC in the US, seeking $500m (&pound;313m) in damages.<br /><br />The lawsuit dredges up memories of a similar action in 2002, when Cantor Fitzgerald &ndash; BGC&rsquo;s parent firm &ndash; sued Michael Spencer&rsquo;s ICAP over the poaching of three key employees shortly after the 9/11 attacks, in which Cantor lost 658 of its New York staff.<br /><br />The ensuing trial threw up lurid tales of bullying, fast money and trips to lap-dancing clubs.<br /><br /><strong>CLIVE HYER<br />PARTNER AT ROSENBLATT SOLICITORS<br /></strong>SOME of London&rsquo;s most brilliant legal minds have been rounded up to act for the two sides in what promises to be one of the salacious court cases of the year so far.<br /><br />Tullett Prebon chief executive Terry Smith has engaged Daniel Oudkerk (pictured top), a barrister at 11KBW, to fight his corner in the court, while Rosenblatt Solicitors partner Clive Hyer (pictured left) will be working the case behind the scenes.<br /><br />Oudkerk is a specialist in claims involving the poaching of teams of employees at hedge funds, inter-dealer brokers, insurance brokers and private equity firms, having recently acted for Cheyne Capital Management and Willis, as well as Tullett.<br /><br />Hyer, who became a partner at Rosenblatt in 1996, is an expert in dispute resolution and has worked for Tullett on several occasions in the past to clear up employment issues.<br /><br />Meanwhile, over at BGC Partners, leading law firm McDermott Will &amp; Emery has been taken on as the group&rsquo;s solicitor and Littleton Chambers is providing the silk.<br /><br />Barrister Andrew Clarke (pictured top) is renowned for his expertise in commercial disputes at City brokers, international traders and large manufacturing firms. <br /><br />He has previously acted for train operating companies and the Royal Mail in relation to rail and postal strikes; for football clubs Newcastle United and Leeds United on the dismissal of managers Kenny Dalglish and David O&rsquo;Leary; and for Jupiter Asset Management in the wrongful dismissal claim brought against the firm by its founder, fund management veteran John Duffield.<br />