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Clarkson Hill advisers left in uncertainty

Clarkson Hill advisers have been left in limbo following the FSA’s decision to remove the firm’s regulatory permissions.

The Cambridgeshire-based group, which has 114 adviser firms listed on the FSA register, announced to the stockmarket this week it was no longer able to undertake regulatory activities.

The FSA has told Clarkson Hill to inform all its clients in writing of the loss of permission by December 17.

Lawyers say the advisers could face Park Row-style delays before having their permissions reinstated if they try to move to another firm, depending on the FSA’s motivation for removing the permissions.

Foot Anstey Solicitors associate Alan Hughes says: “If I were a Clarkson Hill adviser I would be pushing back at the FSA hard and forcing my case as quickly as possible.”

The company’s compliance director Martin Field left on December 3, according to the FSA register, after a review by the regulator of its systems and controls in 2009 that resulted in “significant exceptional costs” of £230,787.

Money Marketing understands Clarkson Hill’s directors Mike Robinson and Ron Pritchard are in talks with several players to find a buyer for the firm but the major consolidators are not considering an acquisition.

A statement on Monday says Clarkson Hill is “reviewing a number of options, including the sale of the company, and is in continuing discussions with the FSA with the objective of resolving matters as soon as possible”.

Succession Advisory Services chief executive Simon Chamberlain says: “This is an old-style firm and providers of this kind are doomed to failure as they do not own anything.”

Perspective Financial managing director Damian Keeling says: “We only buy profitable, well run businesses and this is not our sort of thing.”

An FSA spokeswoman says: “We have told the company to tell us their plans for the business and for the advisers.”

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