Meanwhile, the Dubai operation is now trading as ECS Wealth, is using the telephone number formerly used by ECS Insurance Brokers LLC (which previously did business as Elite Capital), and has a new website at www.ecswealth.com.
On its homepage, the website says: “Our new home is currently being refurnished, however we’re still here to advise you”.
There is almost no other information besides phone and fax numbers and an “info” email address, but calls to the number are answered by an ECS Wealth switchboard. Paul Gates, who had been involved in the Dubai operation of Elite Capital Solutions, is said to be heading up the new company, where Paul Whittaker, formerly with Aviva in the Gulf, is also employed.
An ECS Wealth associate of Gates told IA that he was out of the office and therefore unable to comment. In addition, it is company policy “that we do not discuss any company business with the press”, except through a press release “if or when there is any information that we wish to share”, she added.
In Hong Kong, Elite Capital Solutions has announced that, through a separate company known as Elite Express Holdings Ltd, it is in the process of acquiring the business of another advisory firm, pending approval from the Hong Kong regulator.
Because the acquisition is before the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) for approval, “no details exactly who the IFA company is can be released at this point”, Elite Capital said in a statement.
However, sources told IA that the company in question is Hong Kong-based Solomon Independent Financial Advisors, which, as reported by IA in November, was reprimanded and fined by the SFC in October. According to the SFC, the penalties were for “facilitating the unlicensed activities of employees of insurance broker Black Swan Capital International”.
In response, Solomon said its “joint venture” with Black Swan had ended in 2010, that “all outstanding concerns with the SFC [had] been rectified”, and that “none of its clients were disadvantaged nor materially impacted in any way as a result of the joint venture’s activities”.
In the Elite Capital Solutions statement, dated 19 Jan, Phil Neilson, greater China chief executive of the company, states that both Neal Davies and Clement Morrison, “who were involved in the establishment of ECS Insurance Brokers LLC in Dubai in 2009, continue to drive regional expansion throughout Asia Pacific”.
He adds: “Having established entities in Hong Kong, and Singapore in 2010 and Malaysia in 2011 under the brand of Elite Capital Solutions, this latest acquisition reinforces our combined vision of growing through acquisition and joint ventures with a new age business model focused on building assets under management and delivering ongoing client service more than selling products.”
Both Davies and Morrison, “who…left Dubai to live in Singapore in 2010, resigned from their positions with ECS Insurance Brokers LLC in September 2010 and have actually never been shareholders in [the company]”, Neilson adds in the statement.
Also reported in October, Elite Capital Solutions has taken over the operations of GS Wealth (L), an advisory firm specialising in expatriates with an office in Labuan, an island financial centre that is part of Malaysia. The founder of GS Wealth was retiring and surrendered his licence in Singapore, where some of the firm’s clients and advisers were understood to have gone to Singapore-based International Financial Services.
According to Elite Capital Solution’s current website, it has offices in Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur, but not in Labuan or Singapore.