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Adviser hits out at Standard Life in client ownership row

An advice firm has hit out at Standard Life after the provider revealed clients had moved from a rival firm amid a dispute over client ownership.

Adviser Matthew Bradshaw joined Attain Wealth Management from Croesus Financial Services in January 2013. After a number of clients transferred with Bradshaw, Croesus brought a High Court case against Bradshaw in November.

During the dispute, Standard Life adviser support staff confirmed to Croesus that some of its former clients had moved to Attain. 

The court ruled in favour of Croesus in November and ordered compensation of around £75,000, plus costs. The clients remain with Attain. 

Attain Wealth Management managing director Gordon Crothers says: “This is a prime example of where you rely on trust. We expect information from a third party company not to be disclosed to another adviser.

“If we can no longer rely on that trust then I cannot see how we can continue to do business with Standard Life.”

A spokeswoman for Standard Life says: “Around the time of the disputed transfer of agency, a member of staff inadvertently informed Croesus over the phone that two of their clients had transferred to Attain. It is not our normal procedure to provide details of a customer’s new agency to a previous agency, which has been addressed with the individual concerned. 

“This was not the cause of any financial loss and did not impact the transfer of agency or create the dispute between the firms concerned. Our policy remains to only provide information about clients to the holding IFA on our records.”

Croesus chief executive Jonathan Fry says: “We were pleased with the High Court judgment. Standard Life’s involvement was peripheral to the case.” 

Derbyshire Booth managing director Greg Heath says: “Trust is the cornerstone of our relationship with providers and advisers have to feel it will be protected.”


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There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Providers will screw advisers over? Yes.


  2. Hardly screwing the adviser over. The adviser tried to screw another adviser over, Standard Life just got in the way.

  3. This is inaccurate and lazy journalism…the judgement was in November….the 2 parties were not instructed to agree compensation, the judge awarded and instructed compensation and the amount was significantly larger than £30,000.

    As for Mr Crothers pontificating about trust….it seems to me that Croesus was relying and trusting that Mr Bradshaw would stick to his contract. Had Mr Crothers new adviser done so then one would have thought that the case could have been avoided! Standard Life is right to point out that ‘this was not the cause of any financial loss…or create the dispute between the firms.’ What caused the loss was the unlawful action by Mr Bradshaw. It also seems to me that there was no dispute between the firms but between Croesus and Bradshaw.

    Looking at the facts suggests to me that the case never relied on any inadvertent slip of the tongue by Standard Life…the fact that the clients were transferred was evidence enough.

    Please MM let the facts speak for themselves and be more accurate in the reporting of cases like this.

  4. @chris yes your right, I read Standard Life and adviser and just assumed they where screwing him.

    I must read these articles before commenting on them.

  5. Hi Black Dog,

    You really should read the articles…better still in this case read the judgement….really interesting. I’m surprised the judge didn’t imprison the defendant for contempt of court!

    seems Standard got caught in the crossfire.

  6. Did anyone ask the client which company they wanted to look after them?

  7. Dave…not really relevant. Even if the client wanted to follow the adviser, the adviser cannot deal with the client by virtue of the legally binding contract he had with the previous employer. The court action was about the breach of covenant contained in his contract of employment.

  8. Charles Burchhardt 15th February 2014 at 9:14 am

    Only person that owns a client, is the client…. Firms should not be able to “own” clients – they service clients for as long as the client wishes to receive and pay for that service.

    If an adviser moves, let the client decide.

  9. Paolo Standerwick 15th February 2014 at 10:23 am

    I’m surprised standard life didn’t poach the clients themselves. That’s the normal practice they show. I’ve had done to me as well as other advisers for years.

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