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Broker onboards 5,000 SVS clients after challenging year

Broker onboards 5,000 SVS clients after challenging year

About 5,000 clients of failed discretionary fund manager SVS Securities have now been onboarded to broker ITI Capital’s trading platform, after facing challenges in the past year.

According to ITI Capital, it has also completed more than 2,200 transfer-out requests, with just a handful of “unresponsive clients” left for verification.

In addition, ITI Capital said about 4,000 clients with minimal balances have yet to respond to their account activation request, despite repeated letters, emails, and phone calls.

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The broker admitted the onboarding process had suffered challenges after it bought the client book of SVS which had fallen into administration in 2019. 

The firm said problems arose after the Covid-19 pandemic forced ITI staff to work remotely, along with issues such as outdated email addresses and contact information for SVS clients delaying Know Your Customer (KYC) verification.

Rahul Agarwal, managing director of ITI Capital, said: “After an incredibly challenging 12 months, with the coronavirus pandemic causing huge disruption and a large-scale client verification programme to oversee, we are pleased to report substantial progress with our onboarding of former SVS Securities clients. 

“We accept that there were challenges along the way, but are proud to have addressed these issues and worked swiftly to ensure all new clients can benefit quickly from the full range of services available via ITI’s platform.”

Agarwal added that the firm had invested in improving its customer support systems, including improved back-office IT and helpdesk support. 

Agarwal added: “We have also rolled out new services such as our IPO and Secondary Placement services and achieved unique status as an FCA-approved cryptocurrency specialist.

“We look forward to a very exciting year ahead at ITI, with many more new hires and announcements in the pipeline.”

SVS Securities fell into special administration in 2019 after the Financial Conduct Authority identified "serious concerns" about the way the business was operating, with the regulator warning some clients were paying fees and charges as high as 20 per cent of their total investment

In June last year, ITI Capital announced it had bought the SVS client book, unlocking £240m in funds for the 18,000 investors transferring across to the new broker. 

Clients, many of which had transferred out of defined benefit pensions, were expected to begin accessing their money on July 24, but a number of clients told FTAdviser in August 2020 they were still unable to access their funds and assets. 

It later emerged that clients had faced delays in accessing their funds well into September, leading the FCA to step in to monitor the situation.

At the time, a spokesperson for ITI Capital told FTAdviser the delays were the result of "teething issues" during the transition period, but these had been resolved. 

amy.austin@ft.com

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