A solicitor has been struck off for failing to refer clients to an independent financial advisor, reports Money Marketing
The case against Andrew Field was brought by the SRA to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal. The case had three alleged breaches of the Solicitors Code of Conduct 2007. Andrew Field worked at Field & Co, based in Kent.
The allegations against Field were that he failed to refer clients to independent financial advisors for investment advice, that he allowed his independence to be compromised, and that he misled Medway county court by not disclosing certain loans from the tied advisor to which clients were referred, as part of an individual voluntary loan arrangement.
The SRA began investigating this matter in October 2009, and reported on three clients which had been referred to a tied advisor. The advisor was not named by the SDT, but was a representative of a wealth management service.
In the three cases Field was appointed to act for the clients, and used the tied advisor to invest funds in the firm’s investment products. The judgement found that annual commission would have been more than £10,000 on all three cases, even if the fund made no gains.
Field also received a loan of £25,000 from the advisor. No evidence was found to show that this was disclosed to clients. The loan was also not disclosed as part of an IVA agreed in January 2010.
The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal found that all three allegations were proved.
This case shows the importance when referring clients for investment advice in making sure the financial advisor is truly independent, and the need to maintain independence.
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