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Bluefin sets aside £7.3m towards Ucis misselling review

Bluefin Advisory Services has set aside a total of £7.3m to cover liabilities including the cost of investigating whether its advisers missold unregulated collective investment schemes.

The advice firm’s accounts for 2012, published on Companies House last week, state: “Provision has been made for commitments in connection with the sale of Bluefin Corporate Holdings Limited and for the costs of investigating possible misselling of Ucis by members of the group.

“The company’s regulated subsidiaries carry provisions for the possible redress.”

Bluefin made a pre-tax profit of £22.6m for 2012, compared to a pre-tax loss of £30.5m for 2011.

Towry agreed a deal last month to acquire Bluefin’s financial planning arm Bluefin Personal Consulting for an undisclosed sum, which is expected to complete later this year. The deal sees Towry take on 19 advisers and 70 support staff, as well as 1,500 clients with around £500m of assets.

Axa sold Bluefin’s corporate arm, Bluefin Corporate Consulting, to Capita in April 2012 for £50m.

In October 2006, Axa’s Advisory Services arm, now called Bluefin, bought Thinc for a total £100m consideration, of which £60m was a deferred consideration based on the group’s performance in 2009. However Grant Thornton later declared the 2009 targets were not reached, meaning the deal cost Axa £40m.

Bluefin was forced to write-down £62m in October 2010 due to costs relating to its restructure, which included cutting its private client adviser headcount from 180 to just 50.

Attain Wealth Management managing director Gordon Crothers says: “Bigger advice firms like Bluefin that have tried to bring together a lot of different advisers tend to have a greater risk exposure, and also have to contend with claims chasers trying to go after easy wins.”

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