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Musical chairs and Apfa fights: week in news

Musical chairs and Apfa fights: week in news

This week saw a couple of big name departures from two of the nation's biggest financial advisers plus your trade body prepared to tackle the ombudsman.

For more on what has been going on in the last seven days look no further than the week in news:

1) Musical chairs of the week

It has been an eventful few years at Sesame Bankhall Group, and that looks set to continue when the intermediary giant announced its managing director would be leaving.

Stephen Gazard had spent four years at Sesame, during which time the company was hit with fines, left the wealth market and saw large numbers of advisers leave following a strategic review.

Sesame’s chairman John Cowan said the departure of Mr Gazard would not derail the company’s future plans.

A day later it was announced Mr Gazard would be joining Intrinsic, which had previously bought Sesame Bankhall's Financial Adviser School and taken on 200 of its firms.

The movement means the faces at Intrinsic are increasingly looking like those of the old Sesame Bankhall.

2) Bellamy bows out

Speaking of high profile departures, St James’s Place chief executive David Bellamy has said he will step down at the end of the year.

He had been chief executive for 11 years and will be replaced by chief financial officer Andrew Croft.

Following the announcement the markets let it be known what they thought of the news, with St James’s Place’s share price taking a dive of nearly 5 per cent to £10.34.

The news of Mr Bellamy's exit came as SJP published its results for 2016 which showed profits before tax going down slightly to £140m.

3) The Neverending Story

The tale of Harlequin Property SVG has taken it’s latest twist towards some sort of conclusion.

This week the troubled overseas investment group edged closer to liquidation after a court ruled against giving it more time to right itself.

The court in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, where Harlequin is based, refused a third application by Harlequin chairman David Ames to give him more time to come up with a viable alternative to liquidation.

Six thousand mainly British pension investors ploughed around £400m into the unregulated overseas property scheme via UK financial advisers, hoping for ‘guaranteed returns’ of 10 per cent a year from luxury villas.

4) Adviser gets market-beating returns for himself

An independent financial adviser swindled a vulnerable pensioner out of more than £50,000 and then claimed she had spent it on luxury holidays and gave him cash gifts.

Over 18 months David Bateman depleted the life savings of an 80-year-old family friend who lives in assisted accommodation and suffers from severe arthritis.

When he was caught, he tried to argue the pensioner had blown the money by taking expensive holidays and giving him £30,000.

Bateman of Dymchurch in Kent, was given a two-year jail sentence at Canterbury Crown Court, suspended for two years and ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work for the community.