A former St James’ Place adviser has been handed a 14-year bankruptcy restriction for breaching trust and misappropriating client funds.
An investigation by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills’ Insolvency Service found that Christopher Nicholas Bladen had abused a position of trust by misappropriating at least £858,000 of funds.
He also invested at least £402,500 in funds he was not authorised to.
The investigation covered a period from July 2009 to November 2012, during which time Bladen was a self-employed adviser with SJP.
SJP have repaid or offered his clients a total of £1,250,000 in compensation and redress.
The investigation also found Bladen received the funds given to him for investment, either by cheques made payable to himself or paid directly into his personal bank account.
The Insolvency Services says he used the money to fund his own lifestyle, gamble and pay creditors, including clients whose money he had used.
SJP say 10 clients were impacted and none were left at a loss following the compensation. A statement from SJP says: “Late last year we discovered serious misconduct by one of our partners. We immediately terminated his contract, informed Kent Police and have ensured none of our clients were disadvantaged.”
Andrew Stanley, Official Receiver for Kent Official Receiver’s office says: “Bladen held a position of trust whilst acting as a financial adviser. He took advantage of this to abuse his position, choosing to exploit the trust his clients placed in him for his own gain.”
Clear IFA director Howard Bullock says: “Instances like this are not going to do anything to help achieve good consumer press for the industry. However, I think that most advisers have a strong enough relationship with their clients that issues like this will not affect them.”