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Adviser claims leaving Sesame saddles her with extra charges

Stephanie Pickering, partner at Tyne and Wear-based Verity Wealth Management, claimed the network gave insufficient notice to allow members to resign before the end of December last year, as it can take up to three months to move networks or become directly authorised.

As a result of Sesame only confirming its move to restricted in November, Ms Pickering said if she were to leave the network, she would have to pay extra FCA and Financial Services Compensation Scheme charges under the Sesame banner for the whole year beginning 1 January 2013, even though she had been considering becoming directly authorised, she said.

Ms Pickering added: “I have not been given enough time to remove myself from the network’s headcount for regulatory purposes and I do not know what the levy will be yet.”

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Ms Pickering said she had considered leaving after being asked “continually” by clients whether she would continue to offer an independent model under the new arrangement adopted by Sesame.

She said: “Post-RDR, clients are more aware of that status and many value the idea of our independence and freedom to look at the whole market. I do not want to give that up and I have to leave if Sesame wishes to impose restricted advice on us.”

The network confirmed that it would consider going restricted as part of a strategic review in November. More details about the transition were revealed in January, when George Higginson and Paul Hooper left their posts as chief executive and finance director, respectively.

Background

Steve Thomas, chartered financial planner for Surrey-based IFA The Eurofinance Partnership, said he had “no choice” but to leave SBG to go directly authorised with help from Bankhall, while David Pritchard, managing director of Cheshire-based advisory firm Applewood, said the firm’s departure from the SBG network allowed it to have more control over its “destiny”.

Right to reply

An SBG spokesperson said: “Our conversations with Mrs Pickering have been progressing well. We’ve re-iterated our position that we don’t intend for our members who choose to move from Sesame to Bankhall to be double charged for FCA fees.”