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Norwich IFA with Keydata history told to cease DB transfer business

A Norfolk-based financial advice and law firm has been told to cease defined benefit transfers by the FCA.

Hansells Solicitors, which has over 115 staff and has offices in six locations in the region, has been ordered to “immediately cease all regulated activities relating to pension transfer business” according to its FCA register entry.

The firm must also not act as an Isa manager or broker fund adviser, must not act in any way to stabilise the market price of any investment, and must only sell derivatives “where the activity is incidental to services to a particular client”.

The only regulated activities it is allowed to perform now are those that are “in an incidental manner in the course of the provision by it of professional services” which are not regulated.

Hansells was one of the advice firms that the Financial Services Compensation Scheme had lined up to take to court over sales of infamous failed life settlement bond provider Keydata.

According to local paper the Eastern Daily Press, a senior partner at the firm, Hugh Lansdell, left the firm last year as “financial irregularities” came under investigation.

Hansells has been approached for comment.

DB transfers: A post-freedoms history

The latest revelation comes amid continuing activity from the FCA on the market. The FCA has written to pension schemes, clients of introducer firms and financial advisers in recent months requesting further information on sales and planning processes.

Earlier this week, the FSCS said that DB transfer and Sipp claims were behind its need to place another £70m interim levy on the industry to cover compensation costs.

The FCA declined to comment.

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Comments

There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. How can a bunch of chancers like this be allowed to continue in the profession? Just because it’s a law firm? I’ve seen plenty of bent lawyers.

  2. Talk about not learning from past mistakes. So what are they stupid, nieve, arrogant or just plain crooked

  3. “The only regulated activities it is allowed to perform now are those that are “in an incidental manner in the course of the provision by it of professional services” which are not regulated” seems both strange and surely open to wide interpretation. Who will be the arbiter of what constitutes incidental or otherwise? A firm either is or is not authorised to perform any regulated activities. How can the FCA permit a blurred line between the two? Any need for advice on anything regulated should surely be referred to a fully and properly regulated firm?

    • That’s describing the DPB regime administered by the Law Society. Incidental financial services in the course of providing other, non-FSMA professional services. I’ll grant that “incidental” is a bit vague but there are indicators like, for example, it not constituting the majority of billed time for an individual matter.

      Remember that merely arranging/bringing about is a regulated activity so something like sorting out insurance for someone acting as a trustee would otherwise be prohibited. And there are restrictions on what regulated activities can be done – quite similar to those imposed on appointed representatives.

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