Financial advisers Clarkson Hill Group in administration

Financial advice firm Clarkson Hill Group (CHG) has been placed in administration after a period of turbulence.

Tony Murphy and Robert Horton of Bridge Business Recovery were yesterday appointed joint administrators of the Wisbech-based firm, which is described on its website as one of the UK's largest independent groups of independent financial advisers.

The company has encountered a series of difficulties in recent weeks, and has been in talks with industry watchdog the Financial Services Authority since July relating in part to its regulatory capital requirement, the amount of capital many financial services companies are required to hold to trade.

On December 3 a statement from CHG said the company had been forced to cease all regulated activities as a result of a 'variation in the company's regulatory permissions'.

The company's shares were suspended from trading on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on November 24 'pending clarification of the company's regulatory position'.

According to its latest accounts, CHG employs about 340 advisers in 10 offices nationally, including its Wisbech headquarters.

Bridge Business Recovery were yesterday unable to confirm if the staff figures were accurate and declined to comment other than to confirm their appointment as administrators.

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A statement posted on CHG's website yesterday said: 'Further to the announcement made by the company on December 6, the board announce that Tony Murphy and Robert Horton on Bridge Business Recovery have today been appointed joint administrators to the Clarkson Hill Group.

'As a consequence of the appointment of the joint administrator, Cairn Financial Advisers, the company's nominated adviser and broker, has resigned with immediate effect.

'It within one month following the resignation of a company's nominated adviser, the company has failed to appoint a replacement nominated adviser, the admission of the company's shares to trading on AIM will be cancelled.

'The company's shares will remain suspended from trading on AIM.'

Hopes were raised in November of a possible takeover of CHG by Tyne & Wear-based finance company Moneygate.

Earlier in the month Moneygate issued a statement confirming it had been 'conducting due diligence' on CHG, but directors at the Wisbech firm had 'yet to re-engage in constructive discussions' in recent weeks.

Moneygate said at the time it had applied to the FSA for consent to take a 'bulk transfer' of CHG's advisers.

The company declined to issue any further comment on its interest in the firm last night.