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Norwich IFA closes after pay dispute prompts exits

Two employed and five self-employed advisers left Nurture Financial Planning in February

Norwich IFA closes after pay dispute prompts exits

A Norwich-based advice firm has entered administration after seven advisers left amid a payment dispute with its managing director.

Two employed and five self-employed advisers left Nurture Financial Planning in February, New Model Adviser® understands. The advisers left the firm following disputes over payments, with some claiming they were not paid at all during the months leading up to February.

The firm’s managing director Simon Linstead said no employed member of staff was paid late. Linstead said any late payments to self-employed staff were due to the person responsible for paying them going on maternity leave. He also said some advisers had not completed their annual client reviews.

Robin Sainty, an adviser who left Nuture in February and has since retired, said he was not paid his client fees for November. Following this, Linstead took over his client bank in December and Sainty said he was not paid during his three-month notice period to February.

‘About 18 months ago we were finding every month we were getting paid late, usually incorrectly and always on the underpayment side,' said Sainty. 'It was all getting quite annoying and I found other people in the business all had the same problems. In the last three months until February I wasn’t paid at all.’

Sainty said the advisers left in February following a meeting and shortly after this the office was closed.

Another self-employed adviser who left in February, James Harrison, said he also did not receive any payment for the last three months of his time at Nurture.

Linstead said: ‘I would like to clarify that none of our employed staff suffered any delays in payments. The only delays were down to the person responsible for the reconciliation being on maternity leave after the birth of twins. These expected delays were communicated to the self-employed advisers concerned, who at the time had no issues with this.’

Linstead also claimed two self-employed advisers failed to complete their clients' annual review, meaning he was entitled to withhold their payments.

‘As part of our contracts, we are able to withhold monies if we do not believe the clients have been serviced,’ he said.

Linstead said he decided to close the business due to ongoing health problems. On 2 May, Jamie Playford of Leading Corporate Recovery was appointed as the administrator for Nurture, according to a note in the London Gazette.

Three of Nurture’s departing advisers have set up a new firm in Norwich called Acorn Wealth Management.

Nurture’s most recent financial statements show Linstead owed the company £100,600 at the end of 2017. Linstead said funds are available to pay this. 

Linstead also confirmed the advice firm owed HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) around £70,000. HMRC declined to comment. 

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