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Regulator sets BBB deadline

Company has until end of February to close capital gap

The FSA has handed Berkeley Berry Birch an end of February deadline to plug its 11m capital adequacy deficit or face final notice being served on two of its subsidiaries.

The FSA deadline was announced after the group dropped its appeal to the Financial Services and Markets Tribunal against the regulator’s dec- ision in July 2005 to cancel the permissions of Berkeley Independent Advisers and Berry Birch & Noble Financial Planning (Weston) due to the capital deficits.

The firm says the FSA has agreed not to serve the final notices before February 27, with BIA and Weston having until then to provide written opinions from its auditors that they are compliant with the prudential rules on cap- ital adequacy.

Failure to do this would see them effectively shut down.

BBB also this week announced the disposal of the client bank of its insurance subsidiary’s Private Insurance Portfolio division for 275,000.

The division is the trading arm of Berry Birch & Noble Insurance Brokers, providing specialist insurance products to wealthy individuals and has been bought out by its management team.

The sale of the non-core asset was anticipated as one of the measures to be implemented by the new management to tackle the firm’s regulatory issues.

BBB merged the adviser arms of its national IFA business, Berkeley Birch & Noble Financial Planning and Weston, at the start of the year in another move to address the cash shortfall.

As well as restructuring work and disposals, BBB says that its refinancing plans will also include capital invest- ment from directors and senior managers.

BBB chairman John Joyce says: “This agreement will enable BBB to focus fully on its refinancing plans. The BBB board has met and reviewed the plans, which are proceeding within the expec- ted timescales.”

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