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New IFA has been set up by two advisers from British Steel transfer firm.

Two advisers from an advice firm linked to British Steel pension transfers have set up an IFA two doors away from their old firm. This is prompting questions and further criticism for the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority).


Although the previous firm has not shut down, the creation of the new IFA by two of the advisers has highlighted the FCA's authorisation process, particularly around such a controversial area as British Steel pension transfers.


Four of the advisers at the British Steel-linked firm have previously worked for an IFA which fell onto the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in 2005 which resulted in compensation payouts of £1.5 million.


British Steel

Back in 2018, Middlesbrough-based Acklam Financial was one of 10 advice firms to lose their defined benefit (DB) transfer permissions following FCA interventions around advice to British Steel members.


The permission restriction put in place was temporary and a voluntary business change. A letter from the FCA's head of supervision Meghan Butler showed.

After this, Acklam Financial decided to completely withdraw from the DB transfer advice market in June 2018. Their managing director said 'The business [DB transfers] is not worth doing because, in the future, we see trouble coming with it.'

According to FCA register and Companies House, Acklam Financial continues to trade.


A new firm, Astute Financial & Mortgage Advisers, was incorporated in April 2018 and were authorised with the FCA in March 2019.


The new firm was established by Steven Innocent and Paul Bollands, both of which, were advisers at Acklam Financial.


Both Bollands and Innocent have been removed from Acklam's website. It is unclear what the relationship between Paul and Geoff Bollands although their date of birth suggests that they may be father and son.


The new firm, Astute Financial & Mortgage Advisers, is located at 265a Acklam Road, just a few doors away from 261a Acklam Road. According to the FCA register, Astute has the permission to advise on pension transfers but only in relation to guaranteed annuity rates.


Astute is also not the only firm to be set up by one of Acklams advisers in recent months. In May this year (2019), its adviser John Smith became authorised as an appointed representative of St James's Place (SJP). SJP did not comment.


Life Before Acklam


Despite the fact that Acklam Financial is still going as a business, New Model Adviser has found that four of its advisers previously worked at an advice firm which collapsed and fell on the FSCS.


These four advisers, including Paul and Geoff Bollands and Smith,

worked at a firm called Abrook Financial Management between 2001 and 2004 which was based nine miles away from Acklam in another park of Middlesbrough. These four induviduals were only advisers and not directors of Abrook Financial Management.


Abrook Financial Management was declared in default by the FSCS in 2005. Since then a spokesman confirmed the FSCS has paid out 170 claims totalling £1.5 million in compensation against the firm.


Two years priot to falling on the FSCS, Geoff Bollands established Acklam Financial.


When approached, Paul Bollands declined to comment and Geoff Bollands was unavailable for comment.


When shown details of the story, the chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee Frank Field said that is marks another example of the FCA failing to stop advisers from 'setting up shop a few doors down the high street to start all over again'.


'As eighteen months of Committee warnings and practical solutions turns to two years, still the FCA looks paralysed with indecision on how to act like the consumer protector it is supposed to be, and tackle the bad pension transfer advice,' Field said.


The FCA declined to comment.


The information in this article was sourced from: https://citywire.co.uk/new-model-adviser/news/ifas-from-british-steel-transfer-firm-set-up-again-next-door/a1288392?

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