U.K. ‘Golden Visa’ Firm Files for Insolvency Following FCA Ban
02 Jul 2021

A London-based wealth manager which helped its overseas investors with visas has filed for administration after the U.K.’s top market regulator expressed concern about its financial crime controls and its use of a controversial entry permit scheme.

Dolfin Financial (UK) Limited, a financial boutique with almost 1.3 billion pounds ($1.8 billion) in custody assets, applied for special administration at London’s High Court on Wednesday. As well as providing financial services, the firm also helped manage investments that allow wealthy clients to gain Tier 1 Investor Visas. Adam Henry Stephens and Kevin Lee of Smith & Williamson LLP have been appointed as joint special administrators.

The Financial Conduct Authority began a review of Dolfin in December 2019 and stopped the firm carrying out regulated activities in March this year, according to a posting on its website.

The costly ‘golden visas,’ favored by wealthy investors from outside Europe, allow recipients to stay in the U.K. for three years and four months in exchange for a 2 million-pound investment. A report last year from the U.K. Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee looking into the influence of Russia in the 2016 Brexit Referendum, recommended that the program should be completely revised because it was widely exploited and applicants weren’t adequately vetted.

By Lucca De Paoli, Bloomberg, 1 July 2021

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