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Perspective office closed amid AR dispute

An office run by national advisory firm Perspective has been shut over unpaid rent, as a war of words with an authorised representive suspended last year intensifies.

The office, in Oswestry, is one of two used by Applewood Wealth Management and rented on its behalf by Perspective in its capacity as the firm’s principal. It is owned by a Zurich self-invested personal pension controlled by former Applewood managing director Karl Hartey (pictured).

A notice left on the door of the office on Friday (25 April) stated that it had been closed at the behest of the pension scheme.

A person close to Applewood claimed Perspective is more than three months behind on its rent payments and that the office had been closed by bailiffs instructed by Zurich, which acts as trustee of the pension scheme.

However, Perspective executive chairman Paul Hogarth told FTAdviser rent is paid in advance and it is not as far behind as suggested.

Mr Hogarth added that the issue is “not a question of cash” and that it has withheld rent because Applewood owes Perspective approximately twice the £5,006 in rent which Mr Hogarth says is due.

The news follows on from reports on Friday that perspective managing director Damian Keeling has left the company. The company refused to confirm publicly that Mr Keeling had left the firm.

The office closure marks an escalation of a spat between Perspective and Applewood following Mr Hartey’s suspension as a Perspective AR in June 2013, amid an internal review by Perspective instigated following the launch of advice firm Hartey Wealth Management.

The previous month, Mr Hartey’s son Tristan and two other advisers left Applewood to set up the new firm, which is based in two offices close to Applewood’s, which left Karl Hartey as the sole authorised adviser at the firm he founded.

A spokesperson for Perspective at that time had assured that it was “still very much business as usual” and that all clients were being looked after.

Mr Hogarth reiterated this message in the wake of the office closure, saying Perspective has made no redundancies, all staff have been moved to the second Applewood office in Chester, and no clients have been affected.

He said Perspective was owed money. He added: “That’s the only reason. He was supposedly dealing with [it], and now that has been done [the office closed].

“He has literally gone in and closed the offices himself, but we are going to go in and get that reinstated.

“If you think it’s a question of cash, it’s nothing to do with cash.”

The person close to Applewood argued that rent payments are made quarterly in arrears and that the last payment from Perspective was made on 24 December 2013. The person also denied Mr Hartey arranged the closure of the office, asserting it was seized by bailiffs.

The person said the claim that money is owed to the network is a separate matter and the subject of a current legal dispute.