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Lawyer raises fears over BIA members’ assets

Berkeley Independent Advisers’ members could lose their clients, pipeline commission and renewals if the firm becomes insolvent, according to law firm Financial Services Legal.

FSL partner Gareth Fatchett is writing to BIA seeking assurances that ownership of trail, agencies and ownership of clients rest with the adviser rather than the network in the case of insolvency.

He says the concerns arise after problems with past network failures, such as Group 300, Interlink Premier Network and Lifeboat Group. The firm is inviting network members to join an action group.

He says if the group does not give clarification of the situation within 14 days, it will either seek a court declaration and injunction on ownership of the assets or help members in leaving the network and taking their business to what it calls a protective place.

Fatchett says: “We are gathering interested parties and will be asking Berkeley to show that commission and agencies will be held in trust for their members. We are seeking counsel to confirm there is no protection in place for members.”

Berkeley Berry Birch group marketing director Carey Shakespeare says: “We are not going to be in a situation where any of that is needed. If people feel inclined to take advice on this, that is up to them, but the last thing on our mind is any self-imposed, or otherwise imposed, insolvency or liquidation.”

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