Bates Investment Services founder and chairman Graham Bates has been suspended pending an investigation into his business dealings days after telling the firm he wanted to quit.
Bates and his sister, managing director Helen Peace, were both suspended for “internal management issues” last week just days after Bates tendered his resignation.
The probe is being headed by The Money Portal managing director Richard Craven, who bought Bates Investment Services in 2003. Craven has temporarily taken over as chairman and managing director.
Bates has confirmed that the inquiry is focusing on his other business dealings. He has run a property firm since 1991 and is involved in an advisory capacity as a non-executive director for a will-writing and estate planning firm. He says both of these interests were declared to the board.
It is expected the investigation, which is being undertaken by Craven, the comp-any board and its auditors, will be completed next week. The Money Portal bought Bates – which was started by Bates and sister Helen 10 years ago – in September 2003 when it nearly bought David Aaron Partnership.
Bates says: “It is a very difficult situation. To be quite honest, I am baffled by the charges that they have put. I have dedicated myself to developing the firm and have always worked in the best interests of it.
“I hope that this is resolved in the most amicable fashion possible and that everyone's reputation can be kept intact.”
Craven says the morale at the Leeds office of Bates Investment Services was at a low but that the suspension was nothing to do with advice to clients. He says the advice business will continue to grow under The Money Portal.
Craven says: “I feel distressed. Graham and Helen are close friends and nice people. I hope this all resolves itself very quickly. I don't enjoy this. I enjoy bolting businesses together and taking my friends with me.”