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Ex MM owner wins payout

A former Money Managers (MM) franchisee holder has won a settlement from the company after a two-year battle in the Hamilton High Court.

Friday, October 10th 2008, 10:00AM

by David Chaplin

It is understood, Michael Donovan, who previously held the MM franchises for the Tauranga and Thames offices, received the payout sometime in August after initiating the legal action in 2006.

According to Donovan’s lawyer, David Taylor, his client was “quite happy” with the settlement.

The case related to Donovan losing control of the MM franchises in 2001 when the-then management seized control of the Tauranga business citing breach of contract. In the 2006 High Court document in the case of Donovan versus Clancy Nixon, Money Managers and Edgar Holdings, the plaintiff was seeking almost $50,000 in relation to part-proceeds of the sale of the Thames office and close to $290,000 in compensation for the loss of the Tauranga franchise.

In a ruling handed down in the Hamilton High Court in June this year the claims against Clancy Nixon were set aside with a trial scheduled for November to settle the remaining matters.

The Court document shows Money Managers and Edgar Holdings asked the judge to determine whether “the plaintiff had any legal right to any of the proceeds of sale of the regional business”.

“What became apparent as argument was presented to me was that the question raised in the second and third defendants’ application did not go to the heart of the matter or the pivotal issue, that is, were there grounds for the termination of the regional ownership agreement?” Associate Judge Faire said in his ruling.

The dispute was settled soon after the June 2008 ruling with the November trial cancelled.

However, Donovan also has laid claim to be the legal owner of the Money Managers trademark and logo. Good Returns has sighted a document lodged with the Intellectual Property Office of NZ dated in 2005 with a “deemed date of registration of 3, October 2003” that names Donovan as the registered owner of the Money Managers trademarks.

However, Taylor said the trademark issue was “still disputed”.

Doug Somers-Edgar, former head of Money Managers, dismissed Donovan’s claims to the trademarks.

Somers-Edgar told Good Returns Donovan’s legal action had ended “in a notice of discontinuance”.

Money Managers was sold to a consortium of management and NZ Funds Management earlier this year. The company’s shareholders now include Russell Tills, Gerald Siddall, Robert Henry, Bernard Duncan and Philip Epps.

In June this year, Somers-Edgar, changed the name of a company registered under his name from Money Managers Limited to Independent Financial Planning Limited.

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