- Independent financial adviser, Millfield Group said it incurred a loss at the operating level in the third quarter.

Expectations had been for profits from the third quarter onwards.

The company also announced the resignation of finance director Arthur Milton. It has appointed Diane Gray-Smith as his replacement.

In a trading statement, the company blamed the loss, before goodwill adjustment, on a number of factors, including late reported costs, and lower than expected December trading.

However, Millfield said its cost base has been cut from £49m per annum in November 2004 to £29m end last year, in line with its forecast.

'Initiatives are in place which should reduce this to £28m per annum by the end of the first quarter of 2006/7,' the statement added.