Tarrants employee sets up new firm

A senior Tarrants employee has set up a new company to take over clients from failed Wollongong financial planning business Tarrants Financial Consultants.A liquidator was appointed to Tarrants Financial Consultants - which trades as Tarrants Wealth Management - on Friday.In response to the liquidation, Perth-based financial planning business WealthSure has agreed to take over Tarrants' clients.But ASIC documents have revealed that Tarrants director of operations Stefanie Seco is the sole shareholder of Market St Holdings, a new Wollongong company with links to WealthSure.Tarrants and another Wollongong financial planner, Colin Warne - who later moved his clients across to Dominion - had clients heavily invested in fund manager Trio Capital, predominantly through its $123 million flagship investment Astarra Strategic Fund. Trio Capital failed last October, leaving $180 million that cannot be traced.Hundreds of Wollongong investors, including retirees, fear they have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars each.WealthSure and Tarrants have moved to distance the new operation from Tarrants managing director Ross Tarrant, despite the links to Ms Seco.Market St Holdings was registered with ASIC on May 5.Ms Seco is listed as the sole shareholder of the new company and was also the director and secretary of the company until July 23 - the same day that Tarrants staff were reportedly told Tarrants' financial planning arm would be placed in liquidation.On that date, Queensland-based WealthSure associate director and practice manager David Bertram became both the director and secretary of Market St Holdings. Mr Bertram is an authorised representative for WealthSure.A week later, Market St Holdings' principal place of business moved from Ms Seco's home address to Tarrants' business address in Market St, Wollongong.WealthSure, Tarrants and Ms Seco declined to comment on the new company structure this week, all referring the Mercury to the same public relations consultant.In a statement issued by the spokesman, WealthSure dismissed suggestions Mr Tarrant would have a role in Market St Holdings.The spokesman said the company, authorised by WealthSure to operate under its Australian Financial Services licence, "has employed a number of former Tarrants staff to ensure continuity of service levels and familiarity with client circumstances"."Ross Tarrant is unrelated to the new authorised representative company that will be providing financial advisory services to clients of Tarrants and has not sought authorised status with them," the spokesman said. "Ross Tarrant will continue to provide tax and accounting advice to his clients."Under the arrangement, WealthSure would be ultimately responsible for financial planning advice given to clients.

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