Regional wealth firm agrees to stop taking client cash after staff exits

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Regional wealth firm Blankstone Sington has reached a voluntary agreement to suspend key areas of its regulated business after a series of staff exits.

The Liverpool based investment manager, which runs £430m, has agreed with the FCA to cease taking on new clients and accepting cash or assets from existing clients.

The firm said there are exceptions in place, such as movements associated with open trades and positions of existing customers, however.

Alongside recent departures from Blankstone’s accounting team, the firm lost its chief executive Neil Turner to Investec Wealth & Investment in September.

In a statement on its website, Blankstone Sington said: ‘The board has made the request because of a loss of several experienced staff who cannot easily be replaced. This has caused difficulties for the company to provide its normal standard of service.’

Ben Taxman, Blankstone Sington’s acting chief executive, told our sister title Citywire Wealth Manager that the firm intends to ask the FCA to review the restrictions at the end of December.

Since the restrictions were first put in place on 16 November, he said a new team had been recruited to review client assets.

‘A new team has been put in place to carry out the firm’s client money and assets operational functions. Current voluntary restrictions will remain whilst revised processes and controls are implemented and embedded with an initial target date of 31 December,’ he said.

He was keen to stress that the firm is fully compliant with FCA requirements, and the current restrictions relate to new clients rather than existing customers.

Turner’s departure comes after two fund managers left Blankstone for rival Stellar Asset Management last year to set up an AIM portfolio service.

Stephen English and Phil Kirwan joined the inheritance tax and estate planning specialist in a new office in Liverpool.

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