White Square Investments Limited of Chiltern Street, London W1, formerly Berwin Asset Management Limited and Lombard Asset Management Limited (not to be confused with the rather better known Lombard Group of Companies) was set up on 8th August 2006. Their founding director, former solicitor, Stephen Murrell, had been a director of 32 other companies.
At just 27 years of age,White Square Investments Limited Chief Executive, Stephen Todd a stockbroker, fully licensed by the FSA, appears to have learnt his trade at Pacific Continental Securities Corp., Pacific Continental Securities (UK) Limited, now bust and White Square Investments Limited also bust. The White Square Investments Limited directors also had a number of other companies in common including the catastrophic land investment company Hamilton Bentley & Partners.
In 2007 Hamilton Bentley came under investigation by the Financial Services Authority over allegations that it broke investor protection laws. According to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) the company bought a field near Aylesbury for £45,000, divided it into 212 house-size plots and sold them for £1.6m. Investors were told to expect profits of up to 600% but in fact, said the SRA the land is 'virtually worthless'.
On 3rd September 2009 The Financial Services Authority banned White Square Investments Limited from doing any further share deals for clients and ordered the company not to dispose of its assets.
Financial information provided by White Square Investments Limited demonstrated a capital resources deficit of £106,000, later calculated to be £218,000. White Square despite adequate opportunity, failed to rectify the deficit by maintaining capital resources equal to or in excess of the applicable capital resources requirement, and were in breach of Principle 4 (Financial prudence) of the FSA’s regulations.
In July 2010 the controversial broking company moved from Administration to Liquidation and is now controlled by insolvency practitioners.
On 1st March 2011, Mr Edward Richards, Chairman of the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Tribunal that struck off Stephen Peter David Murrell, formerly of Staple Inn Partnership, from the profession of solicitors for his involvement in the ‘land banking’ scheme which cost investors their life savings and for breaches of the Solicitors' Code of Conduct and Solicitors' Accounts Rules condemned him as 'grossly reckless'. Stephen Murrell was ordered to pay costs of £42,180.95 and the company was placed in compulsory liquidation.