A financial adviser has been left in "total shock" after five colleagues left his company to form a new business, without, he claims, informing him of their plans.
Five advisers from Somerset-based Churchill Investments have left the business to form FiveWays Financial Planning.
The quintet includes two former directors of Churchill - Chris Gilchrist and Stephen Poland - plus three other advisers, Jim Bloodworth, Jon Lawson and Ian Evans.
That has left Jamie Ware as the sole remaining adviser at Churchill.
"This has all come as a total shock to me," he said. "They established the business in December but didn't tell me they were leaving until 7 March."
The five advisers each have a 20% equity stale in Weston Super Mare-based FiveWays.
In total, the group has migrated 600 clients from Churchill Investments worth between £30m and £40m, according to Gilchrist.
He said a key driver for establishing FiveWays was ensuring each adviser had an equal stake in the company.
The business will be fee-based, and clients will be able to check the website to see which fee band they fall into.
Gilchrist said: "Our aim is to build an independent advice business with services targeted at people who are prepared to pay fees provided they get top-quality personal service, communications and advice."
The company will look to take on a further two or three advisers by the end of the year and Gilchrist explained that this would ultimately result in a dilution of the founding advisers' stakes in the company.
The company is also in advanced talks with two west-country law firms regarding joint ventures - a three partner firm, and a 15 partner firm.
Paul Bruns and Elaine Parkes
3,000 left to transfer
Record numbers of people aged 90 plus
From 3 to 10 October