LEBC, the retirement advisory firm whose CEO died suddenly last year, has reported a loss of £232,000 in its latest financial figures.
LEBC was founded by Chartered Financial Planner Jack McVitie, 57, who died suddenly last autumn following a short illness. The business is now being led by Derek Miles, managing director of LEBC Group.
The firm said it had a “disappointing year” in the 12 months to September after being hit by a raft of challenges. The previous year it made a loss of £401,160.
Turnover and trading profit were hit by withdrawal from providing advice on defined benefit transfers following discussions with the regulator and the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic had also knocked the firm, LEBC said. These factors led to reduced income as markets dipped.
LEBC said Covid 19 and lockdown sent markets into “freefall” in March 2020 and for a while damaged investor confidence, leading many consumers to defer new investments.
The pandemic also caused employers to defer hiring decisions and many non-essential employee benefits improvements, while pension scheme trustees and sponsoring employers deferred de-risking projects.
The firm said its decision to close its Retirement Adviser division had also led to additional one- off costs as it restructured the business.
Despite the problems the firm said the second half of the year saw a return in investor engagement and confidence “as consumers realised that restrictions on face to face contact would last longer and so embraced alternative virtual and digital engagement with our advisers.”
The firm’s governed portfolio service also did well. This helped the business return to underlying profit in recent months.
The company is also developing its “bionic” cash management service for clients in conjunction with AkoniHub. The online platform enables individuals, businesses, trustees and attorneys to manage cash savings and will allow savers to access a range of banks using a one-off online application process.