Royal Bank of Canada (RY)’s BlueBay Asset Management was sued by a former salesman seeking to recoup a 1.7 million-pound ($2.7 million) deferred bonus withdrawn after the asset management company says he tried to get other employees to join a competitor.
Fahim Imam-Sadeque left Bluebay in August 2011 to join Goldbridge Capital Partners, founded that year by another former Bluebay employee, Gina Germano. BlueBay canceled Imam-Sadeque’s 2012 stock award when it found evidence of phone-calls, texts and meetings with other employees during a four-month period before he started the new job.
Bluebay is owned by Royal Bank of Canada, which paid 963 million pounds in 2010 for the firm to expand its wealth management business. Goldbridge opened in October 2011 with $100 million of seed funding to invest in distressed European debt.
BlueBay “reverse engineered some ludicrous suggestion of what I did in order to deprive me of my fund units,” Imam- Sadeque told the court in London on Oct. 12.
Imam-Sadeque told the court Bluebay Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Hugh Willis had a “visceral hatred” of Germano and “would do anything in his power to make sure she didn’t succeed.”
Laura Hudson, a spokeswoman for BlueBay at FTI Consulting, declined to comment in an e-mail. Willis didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Imam-Sadeque, the head of sales for the U.K., Middle East and Australia, left BlueBay after management raised complaints about his conduct from other employees and informed him that a colleague was promoted, the asset management firm said in court documents prepared for trial. After leaving, he attempted to conceal his efforts to recruit staff, BlueBay said.
Imam-Sadeque started work for Goldbridge in January 2012. Any contact he had with Bluebay employees before that, including a November lunch with another salesman, Damian Nixon, who went on to join Goldbridge, was personal and not to encourage them to leave, he told the court.
“You had been working extremely hard to recruit staff for Goldbridge,” BlueBay’s lawyer Paul Goulding said on Friday.
Sally Todd, a spokeswoman for Goldbridge, said the company wasn’t involved in the case and declined to comment.
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