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Merchant House shares suspended over capital fears

Merchant House shares suspended over capital fears

Financial services group Merchant House has requested the suspension of its shares from the AIM market as it reviews its financial condition.

It said in a statement to the market that the request was 'pending the outcome of a review of its financial condition with a view to determining whether or not it has sufficient working capital for its present requirements'.

It is the second time this year the group’s shares have been suspended, after an earlier action in March. Trading on the shares was reinstated five days later, and the group announced it had discovered a share issue, accounting for a 14.1% stake in the company, that had been made without the market being alerted.

The group has been hit by the collapse of Pritchard Stockbrokers, which held client money for Merchant House’s structured products division.

Pritchard has been placed in the Financial Services Authority’s (FSA) special administration regime. The FSA had earlier issued a supervisory notice stopping Pritchard from carrying out its business due to client money failings.

Merchant House has said it cannot determine whether its clients would lose out as a result of Pritchard’s failings.

Merchant House rose to prominence in the IFA sector with its acquisition of the assets of stricken national IFA Clarkson Hill in 2010.

Former Clarkson Hill directors Mike Robinson and Ron Pritchard were among those allotted shares in the tranche that was not reported to the market.

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