Following an attempt to wind down solvently, the directors of Dolfin Financial (UK) Limited have applied to the Court to place the firm into Special Administration.
On 30 June 2021, the Court appointed Adam Stephens and Kevin Ley, of Smith & Williamson LLP, as Joint Special Administrators of Dolfin Financial (UK) Ltd.
What does Dolfin do?
Dolfin is an FCA authorised and regulated wealth management firm. It provided discretionary, advisory and execution only services to retail and professional clients on a range of investment securities, such as shares, government and corporate bonds, and investment funds. The firm also provided Tier 1 investor visa services.
Where can I find more information on the progress of the Special Administration?
Terms agreed for the transfer of certain Dolfin Financial (UK) client agreements to Britannia Global Markets Limited
On 12 July 2021 the Joint Special Administrators agreed terms for the transfer of certain Dolfin Financial (UK) client agreements to Britannia Global Markets Limited (Britannia) as a successor service provider. Britannia is a wealth manager and broker authorised and regulated by the FCA.
Britannia will write to the Dolfin clients whose client agreement is due to be transferred. For further information see the Joint Special Administrators’ public statement here. For general information about Britannia see their website here.
The Joint Special Administrators will also be writing to all clients to advise whether their client agreements have transferred to Britannia and any actions which clients need to take.
I have an investment held by Dolfin, will I get my money or assets back?
The Joint Special Administrators will carry out an assessment of all the client money and custody assets held by the firm to confirm the current position.
The Joint Special Administrators will write to clients and creditors with their proposals for the Special Administration within 8 weeks of their appointment, which was made on 30 June 2021. This will include the process of how they should make a claim.
Will the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) cover any losses?
FSCS is the UK’s statutory fund of last resort for most failed financial services firms.
FSCS is able to cover custody asset and client money shortfalls. This could include the costs associated with the distribution by the Joint Special Administrators in returning the custody assets and client money back to eligible clients of Dolfin, up to a maximum £85,000.
However, FSCS will only be able to provide such cover if FSCS determines that it can do so under the rules set for it by the Financial Conduct Authority, and subject to the qualifying conditions for providing such cover. At this stage, FSCS is working with the Joint Special Administrators to determine whether FSCS-protection may exist for Dolfin’s clients. This work is ongoing. As such, FSCS cannot confirm at this time whether such protection is available.
More information about the FSCS is available on its website.
Do I have to pay to get my money or assets back?
Costs incurred by the Joint Special Administrators when distributing client money and custody assets back to clients can be deducted from the client money or custody assets.
As noted above, FSCS is working with the Joint Special Administrators to determine whether FSCS-protection may exist for Dolfin’s clients.
If FSCS is able to provide cover to Dolfin’s clients, FSCS may be able cover any shortfall in client money or custody assets returned to eligible clients by the Joint Special Administrators, including covering the Joint Special Administrators’ costs in returning the client money or custody assets, up to a maximum of £85,000 per customer.
Can I take money out of my accounts with Dolfin?
The priority for the Joint Special Administrators is to identify, protect and in due course return client money and custody assets to clients in accordance with their interests to the fullest extent possible.
Clients will be contacted in writing to explain the current restrictions to account access, trading and withdrawals.
Can I take money out of an account that Dolfin manages for me, but where a third-party holds my custody assets and/or client monies?
Dolfin is no longer be able to provide any instructions to any third party custodian so you may need to contact your custodian directly.
What should I do if I an ongoing case at the Financial Ombudsman Service?
Please contact the Financial Ombudsman Service via its website or by calling its helpline on 0800 023 4567.
Do I need to use a claims management company?
You should proceed with caution if you are approached by a claims management company (CMC).
For the vast majority of clients, there is no benefit in involving a third party to assist you in recovering your assets or to make a claim against Dolfin.
If you use a CMC to assist with the return of your assets, the CMC is likely to charge a fee which is likely to reduce the amount that you get back.
If you are considering using a CMC to assist with the return of your assets, we suggest that you first discuss this with the Joint Special Administrators using the contact details provided on their website. The FSCS has also produced some points to consider before using a CMC.
What concerns led the FCA to place restrictions on Dolfin?
We identified a number of serious concerns around the way that Dolfin operated its business, including the firm’s Tier 1 Visa business activities and financial crime controls.
We sought to work with Dolfin while it took steps to try to address these concerns, including voluntary restrictions on its regulated activities which came into effect on 24 December 2019, and the commissioning of a Skilled Persons Review (s166).
However, following the conclusion of this review, we decided that it was in the best interests of consumers to stop the firm from carrying out regulated activities. On 12 March 2021, we issued Dolfin with a Supervisory Notice prohibiting it from carrying on any regulated activities.
Is the FCA overseeing the Special Administration?
Dolfin continues to be FCA-authorised and remains subject to our rules. The Joint Special Administrators are officers of the Court and need to comply with all insolvency law. The individuals appointed are authorised to act as licensed insolvency practitioners by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales (ICAEW). We will work with the Joint Special Administrators throughout the administration.
Being Alert to Scams
All customers should remain alert to the possibility of fraud. If you are cold called by someone claiming to be from Dolfin or Smith & Williamson, please end the call and call them back using the official phone number +44(0)20 7131 4000.