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Monday, June 22, 2015

Turner Fights Four Ex-Employees In Court

News summary by MFWire's editors

A Pennsylvania mutual fund shop whose assets have fallen about 98 percent in the past seven years is embroiled in legal battles with four of its former employees.

Robert Turner
Turner Investments
Chairman, Co-Founder, Chief Investment Officer
Joe DiStefano of the Philadelphia Inquirer details the post-2008 woes of Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based Turner Investments [profile]. Robert Turner founded the growth equity manager, which rose to $28 billion in AUM in 2008 and has since fallen to about $600 million in AUM. The paper highlights three legal battles that Turner's eponymous fund shop is currently embroiled in, as well as new capital recently raised by Turner.

The first is a lawsuit brought by ex-Turner PM William McVail. In September 2014, McVail sued Turner for blocking his attempt to get a job at another company by telling McVail's prospective employer that McVail still was under a binding non-compete agreement.

The other two lawsuits are aimed the other way, with Turner suing ex-PM and their new employers. One such lawsuit is aimed at Frank Sustersic and Lazard. The Inquirer reports that Turner rejected a buyout offer from Lazard Asset Management in 2013. In the lawsuit Turner accuses Lazard and Susteric of using "confidential information and trade secrets to set up competing mutual funds that mimic what Turner offers," of getting "components of Turner's business that Lazard wanted by less honorable means" after the deal fell through.

The other Turner ex-PM lawsuit is aimed at Donald Smith and Ralph Wetmore II and at BNP Paribas Investment Partners. Turner accuses the duo of having "absconded to BNP with Turner's trade secrets, confidential information and knowledge."

The three cases haven't gone to trial yet. Meanwhile, Turner recently brought in new capital. Last week the fund shop confirmed the closing of a strategic investment round, led by two investors. The first lead investor is Abdul Jabbar Al Sayegh of Abu Dhabi-based Al Sayegh Brothers Group of Companies, and the second is a private foundation set up by Loyalty Alliance Enterprise Corporation chairman and PayEase Corp chairman Abraham Jou. The size of the round was not disclosed. 

Edited by: Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

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