Financial advice firm Honister puts itself in administration
A BRISTOL-based financial services firm has gone into administration, putting around 130 jobs at risk.
Honister Capital was forced to call in administrator Grant Thornton after it emerged it could no longer find insurance to cover its various financial policies.
As well as the staff employed at the company's headquarters in the city, the future of 900 self-employed independent financial advisers it worked with has also been thrown into doubt.
Bristol-based accountancy firm Grant Thornton was called in yesterday to act as administrator.
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Honister Capital had been put up for sale several months ago but no buyer had come forward. The lack of interest in the company led to the insurance brokers getting cold feet and ultimately causing the firm's downfall.
Many of the IFAs working with Honister have been left angry with the way the administration was handled.
They have found themselves locked out of their e-mail accounts and unable to contact worried clients.
However, Grant Thornton has moved to reassure people who had accounts with the firm that their investments are still safe.
Honister chief executive Colman Moher wrote to staff yesterday.
He said: "Due to the history of some of our businesses, we have been exposed to large claims relating to business written by advisers who have long since left us and this has severely affected the premiums we have had to pay.
"The business has had no choice but to enter in administration and consequently you are no longer able to write new business with immediate effect.
"We know that this is an extremely difficult situation for you and we cannot express strongly enough our regret. Despite considerable efforts on our part to resolve this, we have been unable to prevent this situation from arising."
The company has been through a torrid 12 months. Last year it had to make widespread staff cuts and chief executive Richard Pearson stepped down after less than a year in charge.
Nigel Morrison, Alistair Wardell and Richard White of Grant Thornton UK have been appointed joint administrators of the firm.
Mr Morrison said: "It is unfortunate that the only course of action possible in this situation for the group is an orderly wind-down.
"The administrators will be keeping on key members of the group's workforce in order to assist us with the wind-down of the business.
"The group will not be trading in administration and members of the network will not be able to offer financial advice to their clients.
"No customer should be disadvantaged, as the group does not hold client monies, although I would urge any customer who has paid for but not yet received a financial product to contact the product provider in due course."