£685,000 record payout to Creechurch whistleblower

Pedro Gonçalves
£685,000 record payout to Creechurch whistleblower

A portfolio manager who was unfairly dismissed by Isle of Man-based wealth firm Creechurch Capital, which allegedly falsified records in its dealings with two clients, has been awarded a record £685,000 in compensation.

Robert Sutton, who worked at the firm from 2013 until February 2016, took Creechurch to court saying his dismissal was “a retaliatory act” aimed at disparaging his character.

Sutton alleged that Creechurch had attempted to make him a “scapegoat” and tried to paint him as a “lone rogue”. He contended this was to deflect attention from other failures at the firm.

Creechurch stated that it dismissed Sutton for using instant messaging app WhatsApp to communicate with clients – which the firm considered gross misconduct.

However, the tribunal found that the reason for his dismissal was because he discussed concerns about the company with the regulator, the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority (FSA), earlier regarding two protected disclosures.

The Isle of Man employment tribunal ruled in favour of Sutton in May 2017. Local newspaper Manx Independent reported that Sutton has been awarded compensation of more than £685,000, which is a record for the island.

The financial adviser worked as a portfolio manager at Creechurch, making £42,000-a-year.

Creechurch lost its first appeal but it can still take the case to the next stage, which would be the Isle of Man High Court.