Adviser seeks redress over lack of leads from £2,000 service

An adviser who alleges he paid more than £2000 in 2012 for client leads has still not obtained any and has yet to receive a refund, despite contacting the firm several times.

Max Horne, partner of Fife-based Max Horne Financial Services, said he came across London-based stockbroker SVS Securities in 2012, when it announced it was launching a preferred partner scheme to generate leads for advisers.

Mr Horne alleges he organised a meeting with the firm’s representative and struck a deal where he would be supplied by SVS contact details for high net-worth clients in the Edinburgh area.

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He said: “Everything was fine until a few weeks later, when he came back to us, apologised and said another client had wanted the whole of Scotland, and had already paid a fee for it.”

Mr Horne added that the representative then proposed a discounted deal covering the North East of England instead through SVS’s Newcastle office. Mr Horne claims he agreed to this proposition and paid £2394 to SVS in October 2012.

No leads transpired, he said. In April 2013, he received a letter from Kulvir Virk, chief executive of SVS Securities, admitting to “teething problems” and promising to “establish a successful and steady stream of referrals for members of the partner scheme”.

However, Mr Horne claimed nothing had materialised, despite numerous complaints. He wrote to Mr Virk in October 2013. The letter, seen by Financial Adviser, stated he had not received any leads and asked for a refund. He claimed this was not acknowledged.

In December, he sent a second letter, also seen by Financial Adviser, repeating his request and offered two dates for a meeting, citing the terms of SVS Securities’ own disputes procedure under which advisers can arrange meetings to discuss situations where they are unhappy.

But Mr Horne claimed: “I have not had any response. In my view if you pay money, something has to happen, but nothing happened.”

Stephen Lemonides, director at SVS Securities, said he could not comment on individual cases. He passed on a series of questions to the SVS compliance team, which would consider providing a fuller response, adding that “there were two sides to every story”.