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WealthTek LLP Update: Firm Put into Default but FSCS Still Not Open to Claims

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Clients are still waiting for compensation months after the Financial Conduct Authority ordered WealthTek to stop running.

WealthTek LLP Closure

In June and July, we reported that the City Watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), had shut down WealthTek LLP, a Tyneside-based wealth management partnership, citing “serious regulatory and operational issues”.

Joint Special Administrators from licenced insolvency firm BDO LLP were brought in to oversee the closed firm’s affairs and to investigate the FCA’s concerns of:

  • WealthTek operating outside of its regulatory permissions.
  • The safeguarding of client assets.
  • Misleading information provided to clients.
  • Disclosure of information to the FCA.
  • The misuse of client assets.

BDO LLP found “a client asset and money shortfall of over £80 million, likely due to unidentified custodians, missing custody assets or inaccurate records”. At this point, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), an independent, Government-backed scheme which aims to protect customers when financial firms fail, outlined on its website that:

“FSCS is working closely with the Joint Special Administrators to establish whether FSCS compensation will be available for customers. We remain closed to customer claims currently.”

As well as shutting down the firm in May, the FCA is also currently pursuing a criminal and regulatory investigation into WealthTek LLP and its principal partner, John Dance. The authority froze Mr Dance’s assets in May 2023 and launched the investigation following the £81.4 million shortfall uncovered by the Joint Special Administrators.

In November 2023, it was also reported that the FCA had obtained a restraint order against John Dance under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2022, the purpose of which is to ‘to preserve assets to make them available for a future confiscation order’.

This investigation is still ongoing.

On Friday, 3rd November 2023, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) declared WealtTek LLP as ‘in default’, which, according to its website, happens when it has:

“Received at least one claim; and is satisfied that the firm is unable to return money to eligible customers itself. FSCS is required to do this before it can pay compensation to eligible customers.”

Ordinarily, this would allow private individuals who have lost money as a result of their dealings with the defaulted firm to make a compensation claim; however, although WealthTek LLP has been declared in default, in the same announcement, the FSCS said that it remains closed to claims, stating:

“This is an important step which needs to be made before we can process FSCS protection for WealthTek clients. There is still a considerable amount of work to do before customers can be reunited with money and assets and the issue of shortfalls addressed.”

Updates on FSCS claims relating to WealthTek will be posted on the scheme’s website.

Sarah Spruce, Head of TLW’s Professional Negligence team commented on the FCA decision:

“We understand how frustrating it must be for WealthTek clients who still are unable to proceed with claims against the firm. We are keeping a close eye on the case as it unfolds and anticipate that some form of compensation scheme will be available to clients in the future, and we will post any updates on our website and social media channels.

If there are any current or former clients of WealthTek, or any of the other firms in the partnership, who believe that they have lost money as a result of the firms’ operations, I would encourage them to get in touch with us for a no-obligation chat as we may be able to help.”

If you are concerned about your, a friend’s or a loved one’s WealthTek investment, please contact TLW Solicitors to discuss your options.

Call us today on 0800 169 5925, email us at info@tlwsolicitors.co.uk or complete one of our online forms below.

Getting advice as soon as possible is important, as strict time limits can apply.

Minimum case values apply

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