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Money Management

Janus Henderson fights for fees from star U.K. fund manager

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

Mr. 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 Mr. Pease's departure in 2015, with the lower-court judge finding that Janus Henderson withheld management fees due Mr. Pease from the special situations fund. It had prospered to the extent that assets increased to more than £1 billion from an initial value of £15 million in 2009.

A Janus Henderson spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit, other than to confirm 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 owed by Mr. Pease's fund.

In his lawsuit, Mr. 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, 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% in the past 12 months.