Nexus Independent Financial Advisors Limited and Nexus Investment Managers Limited have been sold for a total of £500,000 following restrictions placed on the firm’s activities by the FCA.
The FCA stepped in earlier this year after concerns about client money irregularities at the Fareham, Hants, firm totalling £2m.
Nexus fell into administration following the FCA action.
Business recovery firm Leonard Curtis, which has been handling the administration, confirmed this week that, with FCA consent, it had completed a sale to London-based Vintage Wealth Management Limited on 9 March. The combined sale proceeds for the businesses was £500,000.
Carl Faulds and Nicola Layland of Leonard Curtis were appointed joint administrators of both Nexus firms by the High Court on 26 January. Leonard Curtis said it was appointed as administrator as a “result of the sole director’s absence from the business and concerns relating to the director’s conduct.”
The Financial Conduct Authority published a supervisory notice on 31 January imposing restrictions on the Nexus companies’ ability to trade.
The administrators retained the remaining management team at Next while looking for a buyer. There were 60 initial enquires for the firm with 38 potential bidders emerging. Seven firms took part in more detailed discussions resulting in four formal offers.
New owner, Vintage Wealth Management Limited was established in 2004 after a merger between two independent financial advisory firms, Aztec Financial Limited and Bond & Stein plc. A number of firms are part of the group including Barnet Financial, Vintage Asset Management, Vintage Wealth Management, Vintage Corporate and Vintage Health. Vintage has also established successful joint ventures with prominent London-based accountancy and legal firms.
Leonard Curtis said that as part of the sale process, a number of regulatory hurdles had to be overcome, including satisfying the FCA that the purchaser had the resources to be able to manage the volume of potential clients being transferred.
Joint administrator Nicola Layland said: “I am pleased with the outcome, as it was a difficult process, taking into account the background and the role of the FCA. It was important to all parties that the interests of the clients were protected as well as achieving the maximum sum possible for creditors of the two companies. I am grateful to the management team and staff and Moore Barlow Solicitors for their assistance in successfully concluding the sale.”
Carl Faulds, joint administrator, added: “The next stage in the administration will be to identify further monies that may be recoverable for the benefit of creditors and assisting the FCA with any further enquiries into the circumstances leading to the administration.”
In February Nexus Independent Financial Advisers and Nexus Investment Managers were restricted by the FCA from carrying out regulated activities over client money irregularities. The FCA said it intervened because of “very serious concerns.”
The watchdog said it was concerned that the firms’ sole director may have deducted sums from clients without authorisation or without their knowledge.
Nexus was set up by well known industry figure Kerry Nelson who is the CEO. She has had a long career in financial services and in 2022 she won ‘Personality of the Year’ from an industry trade publication.
In its Supervisory Notice the FCA said it appears that the firms’ director may have taken a total of £2.072m in unauthorised and/or inappropriate withdrawals from clients of the firms. It said the conduct appeared to relate to multiple clients and to have spanned at least the period from September 2021 to December 2022.
Nexus IFA was incorporated on 27 September 2007 (FRN 584769) and was authorised by the FCA to perform regulated activities from 15 November 2012.
Nexus Investment Managers Limited (FRN 610663) was incorporated on 12 August 2013 and was authorised by the authority to perform regulated activities from 14 April 2014. It is a discretionary fund manager.
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