Wisbech advisers transfer to finance firm after buyer is found for collapsed Clarkson Hill Group

MORE than 100 financial advisers at collapsed firm Clarkson Hill Group (CHG) have transferred to a new employer after a buyer was found.

London-based finance firm Merchant House Group last month acquired part of Wisbech-based CHG’s assets from administrators Bridge Business Recovery Partners, who were appointed on December 17.

CHG - previously one of the country’s leading independent financial advice groups - had been in discussions with industry regulator the Financial Services Authority over its capital requirement since July, which culminated in CHG being barred from writing new business in November.

The company had previously ceased trade in its shares on junior stock market the Alternative Investment Market (AIM).

The acquired assets form the base of a new financial planning business, called Merchant House Financial Services, and include CHG’s 48 administrative staff.

The company is also seeking to recruit CHG’s 200 self-employed independent financial advisers (IFAs), with more than 100 having agreed to the transfer so far.

Bosses at Merchant House are currently undertaking a review of the former CHG business, including its network of nine branches, including Wisbech, which is expected to result in some “rationalisation” at the business.

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Christopher Day, chief executive of Merchant House Group, said: “A decision on the future of the Wisbech office forms part of Merchant House Financial Services’ overall review of the business previously owned by CHG.

“We expect to conclude this review before the end of January.

“We see an exciting future ahead for Merchant House Financial Services, but rationalisation in some areas could form part of our plan for the company to build a solid platform for future growth.

“The number of offices we retain will largely depend on how many IFAs decide to remain in each office.

“Since acquiring the group, more than 100 IFAs have decided to join Merchant House Financial Services, something with which we are very pleased.

“We are keen for more of CHGs former IFAs to join us, since we believe we can offer them a solid infrastructure on which they can develop their businesses.”

CHG Joint administrator Tony Murphy added: “As part of the administration process I am very pleased that the joint administrators have successfully saved the business, and I hope this will enable the new venture to move forward and succeed in the future.”