From liquidation to stockbroking: Ask the Expert

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Q. If you have been a director of a company that has gone into liquidation is it still possible to become a financial advisor and stockbroker? I know you have to step down as director.

A. Yes, it is possible, but you do have to disclose this fact to the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in the Approved Person Application (Form A), says Christopher Bond, special adviser with the Securities and Investment Institute.

You will be asked for details in the form, such as whether it was a solvent or insolvent liquidation, executive or non executive directorship, what the Liquidators Report said of your responsibility for the liquidation, any responsibility you had for finance there and whether the new role will require you to handle client money or assets. The FSA will then make its own checks and decide whether you are "fit and proper" for the new role.

"This may sound daunting but there are a lot of Approved Persons who were directors of failed companies," points out Bond.

Even if someone has become personally bankrupt and wishes to work in the area of securities and investment, they may still be able to.

No one, however, can work as an Approved Person while being an undischarged bankrupt, but the FSA does sometimes approve people who have made a formal or informal agreement with their creditors. They don't normally like to do this if the bankrupt person was the senior manager or a large shareholder in a regulated company. However, several Approved Persons have been in the "Lloyds Lifeboat".

Next week's question: Five months ago, I turned down a better job offer, after my manager begged me to stay on and promised to "take care of my career". A month later his attitude changed. He started excluding me from meetings. This has affected me badly. I emailed him about my worries, but he said I was being too emotional and decided that I would no longer work for him. He and HR are to discuss my promotion soon and I fear they will lay me off. Do I have a legal case?

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