National advice firm LEBC has reported a "disappointing trading year" after it suffered a drop in turnover and trading profit following its exit from the defined benefit advice market.
In its latest accounts for the year to September 2020, out today (18 February), LEBC reported an operating loss of £370,975 for the year, an uptick on its operating loss of £339,973 the previous year. Both figures are a stark contrast to the £4,282,321 operating profit reported in 2018.
The company said the situation was made worse by market drops at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, which had compounded its "weakened trading performance".
It said: "A decision was made during the year to close The Retirement Adviser division, leading to additional one-off costs incurred in the year as LEBC Group restructured its business to focus on its core offering."
The adviser already faced a challenging 2019 after voluntarily relinquishing its pension transfer permissions during the year as a result of a Financial Conduct Authority's defined benefit review.
In October that year LEBC's parent company B.P. Marsh & Partners confirmed the adviser had lost 20 per cent of its revenue by agreeing to give up its defined benefit pension transfer permissions.
In its latest accounts the national adviser said it had taken steps to strengthen its compliance function and as of September 2020 had "not identified any client detriment or redress due".
The company also confirmed it had received government grants of £122,366 in the year through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
It said: "Whilst the uncertainty of the impact of Covid 19 will present challenges to the UK economy for some time to come, we remain optimistic that the need for businesses and individuals to seek financial advice will remain strong and that we have a range of competitively priced services to meet that demand."
LEBC said its directors forecast a return to profitability int he coming year "and beyond".