Knight sale

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The Independent Online
Knight Williams, the independent financial adviser that specialises in advising the retired, is selling its entire range of unit trusts, PEPs and broker bonds to the merchant bank Singer & Friedlander following 15 months of complaints by over 280 clients.

Singer is paying £5m up-front and up to a further £12m to Knight Williams, much of which will go to settling the complaints. Precise figures for client compensation will only emerge following detailed negotiations, but sources close to the talks expect millions of pounds to be paid out by Knight Williams to the pensioners affected.

Knight Williams has been one of the UK's biggest independent financial advisers with 24,000 clients and £500m under management. A 15-month campaign by the 350-strong Knight Williams Investors Action Group (Kwiag) complained of high charges, poor returns and inappropriate products.

Singer & Friedlander is only buying the right to manage £400m of funds. It is not buying any company assets or liabilities, nor the independent financial adviser arm of Knight Williams, which will devote itself to processing the complaints in association with the Securities and Investments Board and supervising accountants Ernst & Young.

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