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&#39Bonfire&#39 for Fishwick as IFAs get a lifeline on split caps

IFAs will be liable in the split-cap crisis only if they went beyond claims made by trust managers when advising clients, the AITC has told the Treasury select committee inquiry.

Aberdeen Asset Management&#39s former head of investment trusts Chris Fishwick denied collusion, saying the firm never invested in another trust on the understanding of receiving future investment.

AAM head of retail Gary Marshall rejected rumours that the company is pulling out of the UK retail market and UK chief executive Martin Gilbert said the firm remains committed to compensating investors in the progressive growth unit trust – but not until 2005.

Fishwick said all 19 suspended split caps would eventually liquidate. He said future problems with splits would depend on equity markets, not cross-holdings. Aberdeen has paid £1.5bn in bank debt over two years, he said.

Gilbert told the committee that if it was proven the company had missold split caps it would compensate investors but he did not believe it had.

Fishwick said: “This is an industry problem, not an Aberdeen problem.”

Aitc director general Daniel Godfrey said: “As the managers and sponsors were not aware of the changes to the types of zeros, how would it be possible for IFAs to be aware?”

Committee chairman John McFall compared Fishwick with the bond trader who falls from grace in the novel Bonfire of the Vanities, Sherman McCoy, asking him: “Do you recognise yourself in Sherman McCoy?”

Fishwick responded: “No.”

•Brewin admission, p88

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