View the article online at http://citywire.co.uk/new-model-adviser/article/a719767
SJP pays £1.3m redress bill as police investigate rogue adviser
by Michelle Abrego on Nov 22, 2013 at 08:30
St James’s Place (SJP) has paid £1.25 million in compensation and redress to clients of a rogue adviser who has been banned from running a company for 14 years.
Christopher Bladen, who was a SJP partner from July 2009 to November 2012, allegedly misappropriated at least £858,000 of client funds according to the Insolvency Service.
The Insolvency Service said that between July 2009 and November 2012 Bladen also invested at least £402,500 in funds he was not authorised to. The funds underperformed and the clients lost their investments.
SJP said it had handed over ‘information and evidence’ related to Bladen’s ‘serious misconduct’ to Kent Police and has offered to repay his clients £1.25 million in compensation and redress.
‘Late last year we discovered serious misconduct by one of our partners. We immediately terminated his contract, informed Kent Police and have ensured none of our clients were disadvantaged,’ it said in a statement.
‘All evidence and information was passed to Kent Police in 2012 and the matter is in their hands. It would therefore be inappropriate for us to comment any further whilst they carry out their enquiries.’
The Insolvency Service said its investigation showed that Bladen received funds given to him for investment, either through cheques made payable to himself or paid directly into his personal bank account.
It alleged that on several occasions he amended the payee details on cheques for his own benefit and used the money to fund his own lifestyle, pay creditors and gamble.
Bladen, who was previously a member of collapsed network Alpha to Omega, filed for bankruptcy in February 2013 and following the Insolvency Service’s investigation has been handed a 14-year restriction for ‘breaching and abusing a position of trust and misappropriating clients’ funds’.
Andrew Stanley from the Kent Official Receiver’s office said: ‘Bladen held a position of trust whilst acting as a financial adviser. He took advantage of this to abuse this position, choosing instead to exploit the trust his clients placed in him for his own gain.’
‘Bladen’s actions were of a serious nature and gaining the highest period tariff for a bankruptcy restriction undertaking will deter others from committing similar acts and uphold the integrity of the insolvency regime.’
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