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PIAOB will not pursue Burns case

Burns Anderson breathed a sigh of relief this week as the PIA Ombudsman Bureau ruled it will not investigate a £5m compensation claim against the network.

About 200 investors in a failed Spanish property scheme, sold by former Burns Anderson member Steed Financial Planning, are seeking redress.

But PIA Ombudsman Tony Holland ruled that he could not investigate the claim since the property scheme does not fall within the scope of the Financial Services Act. If Holland had backed the claim, the 220-member network could have been liable for any compensation awards made by the ombudsman against Steed Financial Planning. Steed collapsed two years ago.

Shoosmiths & Harrison solicitor Andrew Pickin, representing the investors, has always claimed they had a clear-cut case. He declines to comment on the ruling until he has met with investors this week. Pickin refuses to rule out possible further legal action.

Burns Anderson chief executive Philip Whitehead says: "We feel vindicated. Our view on the matter has not changed. The next stage, if any, lies with them."

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