Defined Benefit 

Active Wealth liquidator chases clients for advice fees

Active Wealth liquidator chases clients for advice fees

The liquidator of Active Wealth, the first firm to have collapsed in the wake of the British Steel transfer debacle, was able to recoup an additional £24,150 from the firm’s clients after chasing them for outstanding advice fees.

In her final report published last week (February 14), Tina Bullock, liquidator at Crossfields, said no provision had initially been made to collect outstanding advice fees, as it was perceived by Active Wealth’s director that these would not be enforceable.

However, additional work undertaken by Ms Bullock and her staff had made it possible to "identify those clients who had agreed to pay an initial fee but either hadn’t been invoiced, or had not paid an invoice already issued".

Steps were then taken to issue invoices to these clients and chase for settlement, leading to the collection of an outstanding sum of £24,150.

Active Wealth entered liquidation in February 2018 after the firm was told to cease any pension transfer activity by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) months earlier.

It was one of 10 firms which stopped giving transfer advice after they were identified as key players advising members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) to transfer out of their defined benefit (DB) pensions.

The firm had advised as many as 300 British Steel pension clients, of which 64 proceeded to transfer out of the BSPS into alternative pension arrangements without taking further advice.

FTAdviser reported in 2017 that Active Wealth was working alongside unregulated introducer firm Celtic Wealth Management & Financial Planning, which referred the clients to the adviser.

The liquidator’s report also revealed there were three unsecured creditors with claims totalling £38,503 who would not be paid back, due to the expense of the proceedings.

The administrative cost of the liquidation reached almost £56,000, after Ms Bullock said she had had to deal with unforeseen matters.

Handling numerous emails and calls from journalists; making inquiries to the Financial Ombudsman Service, the FCA and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) regarding the liquidation of the company, or dealing with various complaints from clients were some of the additional tasks specified by the liquidator.

maria.espadinha@ft.com