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DFM and Sipp provider enters administration

Smith & Williamson have been appointed as joint administrators to troubled Sipp provider and discretionary fund manager Greyfriars Asset Management.

Partners Adam Stephens and Henry Shinners are handling the wind up of the Leicester-based firm, and started work on 23 October, the company announced this morning.

Shortly after their appointment they completed the sale of GAM’s Sipp and SSAS administration business to Hartley Pensions, an established SSAS provider that is part of the Wilton Group.

The sale is for an undisclosed sum but Hartley has taken on 1600 Sipps, 160 SSAS and almost £500m assets under management onto its books, the firm tells Money Marketing.

Staff currently working in the Sipp and SSAS business will transfer across to Hartley, which the administrators hope will ensure clients experience minimum disruption in the transfer process.

The joint administrators and Hartley do not anticipate there will be any interruption to the services previously provided by GAM.

This follows the recent sale of the advisory arm of GAM’s business to Norwich-based Insight Financial Associates.

GAM was a wealth management business which, apart from the divisions sold to Insight and Hartley, also provided discretionary fund management services.

The latter division commenced a wind down in 2017 and is no longer active. GAM initiated a divestment exercise several months ago for the transfer of client monies and assets, in accordance with Client Assets Sourcebook requirements.

This exercise will continue while GAM is in administration, with the involvement of staff from Hartley and Insight to facilitate the transfer. GAM remains an FCA authorised firm that the watchdog continues to supervise.

However, its FCA register entry shows that Greyfriars is currently suspended from advising on investments, including pension transfers, and cannot accept any new client money.

A note from lawyers Wright Hassall alleges that a number of Greyfriars’ Sipp funds ended up in unregulated investments including high-risk commercial property in the USA, hotels in Cape Verde and car park space schemes.

Stephens, who is lead administrator, says: “We are focussed on working with the new owners of the GAM business, Hartley and Insight, to seek to ensure that clients’ interests and investments are protected.  We have already been working with the FCA and the partners of GAM to ensure the smooth transition of the business divisions.”

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