Advisers suspended

TWO financial advisers, one a former agent for Halifax Building Society, have been suspended by the regulator Fimbra. More than pounds 200,000 is alleged to be missing, writes Maria Scott.

One of the advisers, Michael David Aspinall, is believed by Fimbra to have taken pounds 140,000 from Halifax. Fimbra said it believed investors may have been affected and that the society would be compensating them. Halifax denied this. It said: 'We can confirm that the agency agreement has now been terminated. No customer accounts have been affected and none are at risk. The matter is currently in the hands of the police.'

Mr Aspinall's Halifax agency was run through a company called Michael Aspinall Associates at 27 Victoria Road, Draycott, Derby. Mr Aspinall is also a director of Michael Aspinall Associates Financial Planning. This company is not affected by Mr Aspinall's suspension by Fimbra.

Halifax terminated the agency agreement with Mr Aspinall on 21 July.

Fimbra also suspended Melvyn John Powell, who has been conducting business from 1 Riverside, Riverside Business Park, Bristol. Mr Powell is registered as an adviser with Pentagon Financial Management (East Anglia), of Sackville Place, Magdelan Street, Norwich, but this business is not affected by the suspension.

Up to pounds 100,000 is claimed to be missing. This was money alleged to have been given to Mr Powell to be invested.

He was not authorised by Fimbra to handle clients' money.