FCA stops Sipp administrator from disposing of assets

The Financial Conduct Authority has prevented a Sipp provider and administrator from disposing of assets without its approval.

According to the Financial Service Register, Gaudi Regulated Services has an asset restriction imposed on it by the regulator.

This means the firm will now have to seek written consent from the regulator before selling any assets.

In a statement, the FCA said: “The firm must not, without the prior written consent of the FCA, in any way dispose of, withdraw, transfer, deal with or diminish the value of any of its own assets (whether in the United Kingdom or elsewhere).”

The notice added that the restriction does not apply to monetary payments or the disposal of assets by the firm “in the ordinary course of business or in compliance with legal obligations”.

However, the following payments should not be considered in the ordinary course of business:

  • The making of any gift or loan, or the provision of any other form of financial accommodation, by the firm to any other person.
  • Payments of unusual or significant amounts to the firm’s controllers, shareholders, directors, officers, employees or any connected persons.
  • The making of any dividend or capital distribution.
  • Payments exceeding £20,000 made as part of any asset-based financial restructuring or reorganisation of its business.

In November 2018, Gaudi Regulated Services took on 4,000 clients formerly served by troubled Sipp firm Greyfriars.

At the time, Gaudi Regulated Services said it had taken on 2,000 Sipps and 2,000 individual savings accounts from Greyfriars Asset Management, which had made an application for insolvency earlier the same year.

This was a separate book from the Sipp and Ssas business sold to Hartley Pensions in October 2018 and saw Gaudi’s regulated subsidiary appointed as operator.

A spokesperson for Gaudi Regulated Services said: “The board of GRSL advise that, whilst a number of complaints remaining outstanding with the Financial Ombudsman Service and await a final determination, they have confirmed to the FCA that they will not remove any assets from the firm without the FCA’s permission.

“The VREQ in place and published on the FCA’s register relates solely to the assets of the firm and there is no restriction on the operation of the business or the services it provides to its clients including new business and transfers.”

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