Finance adviser faces inquiry

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The Independent Online
KNIGHT WILLIAMS, the independent financial adviser that specialises in investment for retirement, is to be subject to a special investigation.

This follows a request by Andrew Large, chairman of the Securities and Investments Board, the main financial services regulator, to Fimbra, which is responsible for regulating independent advisers.

Mr Large's request is in response to a huge number of complaints emanating from a recently formed action group of disgruntled investors. The Knight Williams Action Group was set up by Kenneth Jordan, a retired oil consultant, who was unhappy with the way his investments had been handled by the company.

Since he set up the group he has been inundated with calls - about 140 so far - from elderly Knight Williams clients who are deeply concerned about the advice that they have been given.

One of the complaints came from David and Celia Matthews from Wales. They invested a total of pounds 56,000 with the company in 1989, expecting to draw an income from their investments.

The prevailing investment conditions meant that they were never able to do so. They became so dissatisfied that they withdrew pounds 20,000 from their portfolio.

Mr Matthews said: 'The way that the capital was shrinking was keeping me awake at night.'

Mr Jordan plans to collate all the information from the complaining investors, with the intention of getting all the investors put back into the position they were in before they made the investment. He is also seeking damages on top of that.

Knight Williams is a national firm, which has over 20,000 clients. It specialises in giving advice to the elderly. Many of its clients are put into its own unit trusts.

Robin Knight Bruce, a Knight Williams director, pointed out that the company had a relatively low level of complaints. When asked about any extra interest that Fimbra might be taking in the company, Mr Knight Bruce said: 'We are absolutely squeaky clean.'

The Knight Williams Action Group is on 0223 871108.