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Shock as regulator opens new investigation into transfer

The FSA move to open a probe into the conduct of a Berkeley Berry Birch director has come as a complete shock to the firm.

The regulator is to investigate BBB director Michael Cleary’s role as sole director of Berry Birch & Noble Financial Services during its liquidation and the attempted transfer of assets to Berry Birch & Noble Financial Planning. It was suggested that the assets of BBNFS were undervalued and the FSA blocked the move, issuing a formal investigation last June. The company was declared in default by the Financial Services Compen-sation Scheme in July.

BBB chief executive Clifford Lockyer says he is totally surprised by this new announcement but relaxed as he believes that Cleary acted properly at all times. Lockyer says BBNFS appointed an internal audit and external valuation to ensure the correct price was paid at the time.

He says the FSA was immediately informed after it was decided that BBNFS would be liquidated and also over the decision to buy the company’s assets.

Lockyer claims that if BBNFS had not been liquidated, it would have dragged the whole of BBB down with it.

He also says that without BBB putting in 15m, 200 jobs would have been lost and the FSCS would have had to pay in more money.

Lockyer says: “We were not anticipating this announcement at all but I am very relaxed about the situation as I have absolute faith that Cleary acted properly at all times.”

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