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Shell shock of liability move

There is a great deal of discontent among IFAs about Berkeley Berry Birch&#39s move to leave liabilities with the shell of Berry Birch & Noble FS.

It also sees a liability-free IFA emerge from the ashes.

The move echoes one made by Towry Law a few years back but at this stage does not seem to involve any deal with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which slightly sugared the pill for other advisers.

At this time, BBB is not defending itself against what must be the inevitable slings and arrows aimed at it from other advisers because it is carrying out due diligence on the proposed merger with Inter-Alliance.

It is also not the first business to go for this option.

But many IFAs across the country will be rightly concerned that the result will be yet another hike in payments to the scheme. They will see themselves and their clients having to foot the bill for the misdeeds of others.

The process has taken on a whole new transparency because BBB is listed and needs to keep its investors informed of every new development.

Perhaps, if it were not listed, the marketplace as a whole would not know.

Clearly, this is a company that is working very hard to obtain some much needed stability. It will be stronger now, but at what price?

The FSA is facing demands to explain why it did not object to a transfer of BBN advisers to a new business. Surely this negates a whole swathe of the regulatory enforcement process?

The directors, when they come out of their merger purdah, will also face some difficult questions. We await their explanation with interest.

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Guide: how to change your auto-enrolment support

As we approach the two-year milestone of auto-enrolment, employers have had the opportunity to truly assess the capabilities of their chosen support. They are also now realising that getting to the staging date was the easy part, and that support is required for almost every aspect of the day to day running of their scheme. With the three-year re-enrolment window coinciding for many with the total removal of commission and Active Member Discounts from pension-related products and services, as well as the introduction of the pension charge cap in April 2015, many employers will have no choice but to review their support options. But, what is involved in transitioning your auto-enrolment scheme away from your current support options? This guide from Johnson Fleming aims to outline some of these key areas and provide information and discussion points on what you need to consider.

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