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Honister latest: Grant Thornton asks advisers to return client files

Honister administrators Grant Thornton have written to former Honister advisers reminding them of their duty to return all client files.

Honister entered administration last week after failing to secure professional indemnity insurance. Grant Thornton was appointed as administrator for the group which includes advisory firms Burns Anderson, Sage Financial and Honister Partners.

A letter, sent out on Friday, confirms Honister advisers are no longer allowed to trade and that any files relating to clients may be needed by the administrators for future claims.

The letter says: “You maybe in possession of client records that belong to the companies. If that is the case please ensure that all client files are returned to the companies. We may require all client records to deal with future claims, failure to return these records may be recalled in any future references.”

Many advisers expressed anger last week on the Money Marketing website after they saw trail and pipeline commission was frozen as a result of Honister entering administration with monthly payments due last week not made.

Honister has retained a small team who are dealing with references for advisers looking to move elsewhere, this is available on the helpline 01482 385385.


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There are 14 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Can’t understand why this is a ‘a story’. We all know files should be returned when one ceases to work for a company.

    Can hear the sound of eggs being sucked all over the country

  2. Allegedly the Sesame/DBS file warehouse for advisers who have left is similar to either the final scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark or Warehouse 13 depending on your age group.

    Either way the first thing they do in the event of a claim is to ask for a copy of the file. It’s then fun to watch the sparks fly when they are reminded they already have the file and even more fun when they are asked to provide a copy to the adviser before answering any claim. (which they can’t as the files aren’t labelled).

    Further fun ensues when it is suggested to Sesame that as the adviser can’t defend any action due to Sesame’s inability to find the file, the adviser won’t accept responsibility for any settlement no matter what it says in the contract.

    The words “chicken” and “headless” spring immediately to mind

  3. The administrator can have what is “his” – i.e. my files – when he gives me what is mine – i.e. my commission. And he can pay for the storage costs on what he says are “his” files.

  4. richard smith 9th July 2012 at 1:58 pm

    As an IFA with PS. All my submissions go via True Potential. SO PS has the copies it wants. Should PS go bust. The ‘ off switch ‘ is switched on. Then I’ve lost everything.So, I keep a copy of everything – paperbased or on my computer. When I leave, I’ll have a copy of everything. When I was with Royal Life. I had a complaint. They asked me for copies of everything. I asked why. Answer was, ‘ we get rid of all paperwork after 6 years ‘. Its true. I had kept everything – and the compliant was turned down. NEVER trust anyone to keep records. I still have paperwork going back to 2000 formy records. With Park Row from 2000 to 2004.

  5. Advisers should just focus now on getting re-registered with alternative firms.

    Advisers have been taken up the rear with no warning by the directors of Honister – when theyve been bending over to help their clients.

  6. @ Anon 1.29. Big Lol. This sounds like it is the voice of experience speaking.
    @ Anon 1.36. You are just right.

  7. Bet the Data Commissar and other Quangocrats are spluttering into their tea over this one! So many trangsressions of the rules, sacre blue! In such a shambolically regulated business, regulated by very few who have actually done it, these things probably come as a surprise. Mind you if you actually asked the clients if they would be happier with their long term adviser holding the files in his or her dining room but able to give them service, or unable to because they are locked away by some faceless administrator, what do you think they would actually prefer? Then who actually thought that these people, who through no fault of their own find themselves unable (and unlikely for some time) to trade would happily leave their livlihood locked in the offices of the directors who shafted them?

  8. I sympathise, I’ve worked for two firms that have gone under in the last 3 and a half years and have had to put up with the headless chickens myself. Complete nightmare! I have lots of client files, that I was given, many of them I have never been able to contact because the details are out of date (as they were when I joined the firm and was given that ‘wonderful’ resource, ehhh-hummm!) – the new firm (firm number 3 – from whom I have jumped ship for more stable pastures!) have no interetst in the files, but are still taking the trail. I would seriously appreciate some advice on what to do with them. Those I have contact numbers for I am phoning and saying, I have your file, have they been in touch? (All have said no so far, but if they said yes I would say please come and get your file or provide me with a PPE or your adviser name and they can come and get it) And then when they have said no if I can help them I do, if they didn’t want me to I would give them their file back. But what should I do with the others? It seems wrong to burn them!

  9. I couldn’t agree more with anon at 1.36pm. They cannot have it both ways, ie shaft us for comission and then expect us to jump through hoops to comply with their rules! We have hundreds of client files built up over the last 7 years and it will take a removal truck to get them to the vultures (Grant Thornton), and also,whose cost is the shipping and copying? Also, to raise another point, a few of my clients have already expressed disgust with the way we have been treated and have stated that in no way do they wish for Honister to hold their records. Surely client wishes have to come into this somewhere along the line? I know the networks think they are God, but at the end of it all we are a SERVICE industry and the client should be king????

  10. My clients were not informed by the various new companies to whom we were transferred accross as advisers, of the changes and most thought that they were still with the original company (who had not contacted them for years). How can the new companies retain our commission (after the directors who have moved accross to the new company have caused us to loose thousands in pipeline due to their management incompetency) when they are not even looking after the clients and keeping them informed of the changes.

    Good point as well, after in these circumstances, us advisers have been so badly financially disadvantaged due to no fault of our own – why the heck should we foot the cost of sending files to people at over £5 per pop? I think not!

  11. Remember according to the Data Protection Act, you can only hold files for a limited period, and if you hold it longer you could be in breach.

    Principle 5 states: Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.

    The purposes were to advise not to protect from claims of course!

    Of course if you just make a big pile of paper and not an organised filing cabinet you aren’t covered by the DPA so maybe that’s why these networks can’t find the files as they are trying to keep from being covered by the Data protection act!

  12. David Garforth 9th July 2012 at 10:57 pm

    Its time to stop taking it up the a*** and have a go back , contact your local MP and email Mark Hoban he is the finance minister you never no the more that bombard the politicians the more they may take notice

  13. This will be the first of many and will see trail commission being decimated.

    It is unclear how people who were on commission have been allowed to trade as ‘independent’ and ‘advisors’ for decades without challenge, when in reality they were tied agents on commission.

    Move to fees only, gain client trust, move onward.

    Forget the good old days – they are over

  14. A company called Scanning Direct will scan your client files so you can then send the originals to the administrator and have an electronic copy for yourself. They have been doing this for IFA’s for over a decade.

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