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Clients were told IFA firm had gone bust rather than network

An adviser has slammed Phoenix Independent Advisers for sending a letter to some of his clients last November that claimed his firm had gone into administration.

Abacus Assurance Financial Services managing director Philip Vaughan says PIA sent a letter last November to at least three of his clients invested in a Friends Provident investment bond, claiming it had bought the assets of his company.

However it was Vaughan’s former network Interlink Premier Network Limited that was placed into administration in 2004 with assets subsequently acquired by PIA.

Vaughan says when he challenged PIA on the letter, the firm said that when it acquires the assets of a company in liquidation or administration, it is dependent on the product provider, in this case Friends Provident, to give the names of clients that have not been moved to another agency.

Vaughan says: “The deal allowed PIA access to the client bank but they should not have received my firm’s name and should never have stated to my clients that my firm has gone into administration when it clearly has not.”

A spokesman for Friends Provident says it supplied PIA with historical client records of Abacus for the time it was an AR of Interlink.

He says: “In 2008, Phoenix wrote to us asking us to transfer any business under Interlink, which would have included any Abacus business as an AR of Interlink. The transfer was completed in August 2009. At this point, Phoenix was able to access details of all clients of Abacus for the period in which it had been an AR of Interlink.

“They were, and are still entitled, to get information on the ex-Interlink business written by Abacus as they still own that and so could, at any time, request this through the extranet.”

A spokesman for PIA says: “We want to make it absolutely clear that in this case contact with the three Abacus clients by our adviser should not have taken place.

“We have written to Abacus and to the clients to apologise and are reviewing our internal procedures to ensure this does not happen again.”

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  1. And they are paying damages for “Passing Off” and/or libel/slander? (They would be if they’d done it to my company!)

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