Companies  

Failed wealth manager owes HMRC almost £800,000

Failed wealth manager owes HMRC almost £800,000

A wealth manager which failed following intervention from the regulator owes the taxman and its own employees the best part of £1m. 

SVS Securities PLC entered special administration in August after the Financial Conduct Authority identified "serious concerns" about the way in which the business was operating, including some clients paying fees and charges as high as 20 per cent of their total investment

In September administrators at Leonard Curtis confirmed the "quickest and most cost effective" way to return assets and money to SVS clients would be to transfer the company's assets to another interest broker.

Leonard Curtis is currently in the process of deciding which broker this will be, with more than 100 companies originally interested in the SVS clients. 

But according to documents published on the Companies House website this month the company still owed £770,781 to HM Revenue and Customs and £98,794 to its employees. 

The FCA first intervened at SVS when it conducted "urgent" supervisory work after receiving a tip-off about the assets in which the company was investing the money of its clients, with the watchdog consequently instructing the wealth manager to cease all regulated activities.

The regulator found it was targeting IFAs to promote its model portfolios to clients after a defined benefit pension transfer or Sipp switch and said the proportion of illiquid and high-risk bonds in its model portfolios were unlikely to match these clients' needs.

Despite administrators putting plans in place to return client funds through a third party broker Leonard Curtis has previously warned the cost of this process would be "material".

This cost will ultimately be paid out of custody assets and client money - meaning customers would therefore face shortfalls as a result of SVS entering into special administration. 

The administrators said they expected the "vast majority" of clients to be fully compensated by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for any costs of transferring their custody assets and money. 

But they warned there might be a "small number" of clients who may face shortfalls in their funds, either because they are not eligible for FSCS compensation or because their loss exceeds the FSCS compensation limit of £85,000. 

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on fa.letters@ft.com to let us know.