Richard Pease speaks out on Henderson court case

Top fund manager Richard Pease has spoken out about his recent legal battle with Henderson, saying it was sad to take it to court but entirely necessary to resolve the bitter dispute.

Richard Pease speaks out on Henderson court case

Last month, the High Court ruled in favour of Pease regarding his claim that Henderson Global Investors (now Janus Henderson) had breached terms of his contract as it “failed and refused” to pay him £2.7m of outstanding management fees after he left the firm.

Pease won two claims. The first that Henderson had failed to pay him remuneration in breach of contract, and second that it wrongfully held back accrued payment after he had quit Henderson.

Unfortunate

Speaking to Portfolio Adviser, Pease said he was relieved it was over but it was “very unfortunate” the dispute had to go to court.

He said: “I was incredibly keen that it should not have to go to court and we only went to court because we could simply not mediate in any way, shape or form with Henderson – and we did try terribly hard.

“I was just bewildered that they wanted to test it in court. In the end, with great reluctance, we had to go to court and we won everything, which obviously I am relieved about.”

Contract

The case originates from when Pease resigned from Henderson in October 2014 to start-up boutique firm Crux Asset Management in June 2015. His contract with Henderson, which had been agreed when it acquired New Star in 2009, had allowed him to take the £1.2bn European Special Situations fund with him.

Speaking about the original contract, Pease said: “We had a very unusual contract which wasn’t a bonus or reward, it was a contractual entitlement to a revenue share. That’s why I joined and to try and claim it was anything else was just odd, actually.

“There is no point having the right to do something if they then fine you so heavily, it is self-defeating and it is not what the intention of the contract was.”

Next steps

The exact amount of damages has yet to be agreed, and it is not yet clear if Janus Henderson will appeal the decision.

“We are disappointed with the decision and considering our options,” a spokesperson for the firm said.

Pease said he would be surprised if Janus Henderson does appeal because it would mean risking a hefty payout.

“All I can say is there is lots more downside for them,” he added. “We won the damages argument and it wasn’t monetised.

“It is tens of millions potentially and I think the judge wanted to make a point that we won the intellectual argument; if they appeal I guess we can revisit that.”

Pease said he hopes Janus Henderson does not appeal because the process has been “very dreary”.

“I have nothing personal against anybody, I just find the whole thing strange,” he added.

A good deal

Pease also believes Janus Henderson got “a good deal” out of him.

“They made tens of millions out of me and that’s just what I like; I like people to make money, that’s what we try and do for people. It was not that they did badly out of me, they did extraordinarily well at every level.

“I would have thought that would have been enough. Clearly not.”

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