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Honister administrator warns providers it will not approve bulk transfers

Standard Life and Aviva insist they will continue to accept bulk transfer requests from ex-Honister advisers

Honister Capital administrator Grant Thornton has contacted product providers warning them that client agencies remain the property of Honister and the group will not approve bulk transfers at adviser level.

Last month, Standard Life and Aviva said they will accept applications for bulk transfers of clients from ex-Honister advisers who are becoming reauthorised with new networks or firms, without the consent of Grant Thornton.

In an email to providers this week, Grant Thornton says: “Please note that the agencies remain the property of the group. Advisers will need to obtain authority from individual clients for the transfer of their agencies as we will not be agreeing to the transfer of agencies at adviser level. We can confirm that you should continue to pay the amounts due into the group’s accounts as normal.”

A Standard Life spokesman says: “Our position remains unchanged. We have terminated our relationship with Sage Financial Services and Burns Anderson, subsidiaries of Honister. We will deal directly with the individual advisers to accept bulk transfer requests to place affected clients under another FSA-registered firm on the condition it does not breach any restriction, obligation or duty they hold to their existing network.”

An Aviva spokesman says: “We are continuing with the transfers as planned.”

Honister Capital, which includes advisory firms Burns Anderson, Sage Financial and Honister Partners, went into administration on 3 July after it failed to secure professional indemnity insurance. The group had more than 900 self-employed financial advisers across the brands.

Tenet distribution and development director Keith Richards says: “Standard Life in particular should be commended for taking a more pragmatic approach to supporting end-consumers and their advisers during an unfortunate situation, such as the one facing Honister advisers. It is good to see others such as Aviva follow suit.”

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  1. Under typical Provider Terms & Conditions of agency, providers either have complete discretion or the agency terminates automatically on cessation of business or change of control, so the Honister administrators have ‘property’ rights over diddly squat. Normally this creates a big problem for advisers wishing to sell and is one of the reasons for low capital values for adviser businesses but in this case it can be used to advantage for the ex Honister advisers – every cloud has a silver lining etc.

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