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A legacy of liabilities may change players

The year in IFAland saw Berkeley Berry Birch and Millfield falling by the wayside.

As well as the uncertainty for the firms’ 2,100 advisers, there were also concerns over where liabilities would fall.

The answer to that is apparently the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, with over 500 endowment complaints being processed, at the last estimate, at an average of £2,000 a claim, and that bill looks set to soar higher next year.

Positive Solutions sold its company in a smart piece of business by David Harrison. The deal is thought to have made the company worth just under £170m and it is now wholly owned by Aegon. The 1,500 adviser partners are all now entitled to shares of profits.

IN Partnership is playing its cards close to its chest, with continual rumours about mergers and Stanley Lovell making no secret of the fact that he sees “consolidation as the way forward.”

A betting man might expect a big announcement within the next 12 months.

Burns-Anderson put its own For Sale sign up this year. The Bristol network hopes to pick up around £12m for the firm of 400 advisers.

The only concern for the group is whether product providers are still licking their wounds from the afore-mentioned collapses.

Perhaps the white knight for ailing IFAs will start to be seen in some other form than an insurance company in future.

Not, however, if your name is Thinc Destini. Or, the Thinc Group as it is now known. Axa dipped into its rather deep pockets to find £100m to snap up Thinc Destini and “invest in distribution”.

Many industry commentators were surprised at the amount quoted. It is also worth noting that the terms are dependent on Thinc hitting its 2009 targets, which have yet to be published.

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