Janus Henderson Fights to Reclaim Millions in Fees From Star Fund Manager

(Bloomberg) -- Janus Henderson Group Plc is fighting to reclaim millions of pounds in management fees from a star London fund manager who took his fund with him when he left.

Janus Henderson on Tuesday deepened its feud with Richard Pease, asking appeal judges to overturn a lower court ruling. The dispute came after Pease moved his 1 billion-pound ($1.3 billion) fund to his new venture -- with both sides withholding management fees from each other.

Pease had wrung a "bespoke, one-off" agreement from Janus Henderson that allowed him to keep control of his fund if he moved firms, Janus Henderson’s lawyer Daniel Oudkerk said. “Henderson was very keen to keep Pease," he said, adding that he’d have left earlier without the agreement.

The contract came under scrutiny following Pease’s departure in 2015, with the lower-court judge finding that Janus Henderson withheld management fees due to Pease from the special situations fund. It had prospered to the extent that assets increased to more than 1 billion pounds from an initial value of 15 million pounds in 2009.

A Janus Henderson spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit, other than confirming the details.

On Tuesday, Janus Henderson asked the judges to reconsider the contract terms for the period after the transfer had taken place. Under the terms of the contract, the manager would share the fees for the first 12 months after moving, and Janus Henderson says that amounts to 4 million pounds owed by Pease’s fund.

In his lawsuit, Pease had also argued that the fund’s transfer to his new operation was delayed by months, with the uncertainty causing investors to withdraw money. He had originally sought damages of 47 million pounds, but the judge denied the request.

Janus Henderson has faced a series of tough headlines this week after Bill Gross, the legendary bond manager, announced his retirement. The firm is also grappling with the accelerating pace of investor withdrawals. The asset manager’s share price has fallen more than 40 percent in the past 12 months.

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