Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Cantor Fitzgerald LP failed to win damages from four managing directors in Hong Kong who left the New York-based brokerage to join China-backed investment bank Reorient Financial Markets Ltd.
“There is not a shred of evidence suggesting that, whether individually or collectively, they had any intention to injure Cantor Hong Kong,” High Court Judge A.T. Reyes said in a judgment handed down today.
Cantor’s Europe and Hong Kong units had sought HK$8.7 million ($1.1 million) in damages from former Hong Kong head Jason Boyer and three others, accusing them of breaching their employment contracts and causing a 29 percent drop in its average monthly revenue in the Chinese city.
Victoria Ho, a Hong Kong-based spokeswoman for Cantor at Ogilvy, couldn’t immediately provide a comment from the brokerage in response to today’s court decision.
Boyer, Bradford Ainslie and Brett McGonegal of Cantor’s Asian cash equities desk and Uwe Parpart, its former Asia chief economist and strategist, left for a firm now known as Reorient Financial on the same day last year. The startup is backed by an asset manager under China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission and aims to become a global investment bank, according to the defendants.
All four told the court in a trial last month that they left Cantor independently.
“An employee is free to make up one’s mind whether to stay or leave,” Reyes wrote in his 48-page decision.
He ordered the defendants to pay Cantor at least $1.3 million, mostly representing payments in lieu of notice. Cantor was ordered to pay most of the defendants legal fees.
Reorient Financial is owned by Asia TeleMedia Ltd., now known as ReOrient Group Ltd. The bank will be offered priority in advising on restructuring more than 100 businesses managed by China Chengtong Holdings Group, an investor in Reorient.
The case is Cantor Fitzgerald Europe, Cantor Fitzgerald (Hong Kong) Capital Markets Ltd. and Jason Boyer, Bradford Ainslie, Brett McGonegal, Uwe Henke von Parpart, HCA1160/2011 in Hong Kong’s Court of First Instance.
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