Belinda Bennett, Editor
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
High Court finds in his favour. Pieter Burger says his life was ‘on hold’ for nearly two years.
AN East Devon stockbroker says he feels vindicated after a High Court judge ruled in his favour.
Pieter Burger, 48, a former executive member of Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was one of seven wealth managers sued by financial advisers Towry.
Towry instigated court action after it took over business Edward Jones Investments, which formerly had an office in Honiton.
It was alleged that Mr Burger broke a clause in restrictive covenants when he took clients with him to Raymond James Investment Services.
Towry said the covenants barred Mr Burger from contacting his former clients for up to 12 months.
But, at the end of a five-week case in the High Court, the Honourable Mrs Justice Cox DBE ruled against Towry in all seven cases and ordered the firm to pay costs on indemnity, which has been described by legal experts as “rare”.
“After nearly two years, I feel vindicated,” Mr Burger told the Midweek Herald.
“My life has been on hold and I was worried I was being judged by other professionals. It was a huge stopper of life.”
Mr Burger says the court action was a double-edged sword.
“In many respects, I’m honoured that so many of my clients wanted to continue with my services,” he said.
“But you’ve got to be up-front with people when you’ve got something quite controversial hanging over you.
“I had to withdraw from many things, because how could my voice say anything with the court case pending?”
During the run-up to the court case, Mr Burger, a former secretary of the East Devon Federation of Small Businesses, found the time to study and was awarded chartered status with the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments and passed the Level 6 CISI Private Client Investment and Advice Management Paper, known as the PCIAM.
His career as a financial planner and stockbroker spans more than a decade and he says he now wants to concentrate on creating “superior investment propositions” .
He said: “My pleasure is helping people understand investments, because investing should be fun, really enjoyable, and not an area of concern.”
Mr Burger can be contacted on 01404 598168.