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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 January, 2004, 11:12 GMT
Bonds fallout hits finance firm
An estimated 250,000 people have invested in precipice bonds
One of the UK's biggest firms of independent financial advisers (IFAs) has gone into administration because of its exposure to mis-selling claims.

David Aaron Partnership which has tens of thousands of clients, was a big seller of so-called "precipice bonds".

Some investors have lost almost two-thirds of their original savings by investing in the bonds.

The firm's administrator told the BBC that other IFAs could face similar difficulties in the future.

High-income bonds

Precipice bonds offered the prospect of a high rate of return.

But, if the underlying investment, often a stock market index like the FTSE 100, fell below a certain level, investors could end up losing most or all of their capital.

The Financial Services Authority estimates that about 250,000 people invested a total of 5bn in precipice bonds.

Some savers are about to lose all of their original investment because of an apparently safe saving scheme
Gordon Brown

Two companies, Lloyds TSB and Chase de Vere, have been already fined over the sale of the products.

David Aaron Partnership took the decision to put itself into administration after a number of the firm's clients won cases at the Financial Ombudsman Service.

People with outstanding complaints about precipice bonds could face a long wait.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme will only step in if the firm cannot meet its liabilities.

However, if it does, investors could receive up to 48,000 compensation.

Trouble ahead

Finbarr O'Connell, partner in corporate recovery at KPMG and the firm's administrator, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that he predicted further problems ahead for other financial advisers.

He has already acted for RJ Temple, another firm that got into difficulties.

"This is an industry problem. These bonds were sold a number of years ago. The are now maturing," he said.

"The clients are finding losses have been made, and they are finding they are being advised that they should make claims against the ombudsman which leads to pressure on IFAs".

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