The FCA alleged the two companies provided a pension report service and made misleading statements which induced consumers to transfer their pensions into SIPPs and then into alternative investments such as HotPods office space available for rent , tree plantations and Brazilian property developments. Additionally, AA, the Lummises and Fox have been banned from engaging in regulated activities in the UK without authorisation, making financial promotions and making false or misleading statements about regulated investments. Subject to any appeals against the judgment, the FCA says it will take steps to recover monies from the defendants, so that it can return them to the investors. Omid Khub of Zakery Khub Solicitors, the law firm representing the Lummises and Alexandra Associates, put out a statement which said: 'Our clients are pleased the court has recognised the need for the second trial. Skip to main content. Reporter, Accountancy Daily, published by Croner-i Ltd. View profile and articles. Many of the underlying investments failed or are in liquidation. Average: 4. Insight Called to account.
SIPPs mis-selling has been a rising problem in recent years, with increasing numbers of financial firms coming under fire for their mis-sold pensions. Avacade and Alexandra Associates are the latest to be fined, after a court case brought against them by the FCA. The Court decreed that Avacade and Alexandra Associates had acted unlawfully in the following ways:. These investments were far higher risk than many of their clients were aware of, and when they underperformed, the value of the investments went down — losing money in the process. It also stated that Alexandra Associates and its three directors, Lee Lummis, Craig Lummis and Raymond Fox would be banned from undertaking regulated financial activities in the country. The decision was welcomed by the FCA, who had brought the case against the two firms. Avacade has now gone into liquidation. However, Alexandra Associates are anticipated to appeal the decision. Omid Khub, who is acting as solicitor for the company, emphasised that the directors felt sympathy for those who had lost money, but thought that the overall ruling was unfair. SIPP mis-selling can result in serious loss of funds for your retirement.
Avacade was not authorised to advise individuals or to arrange investments. Often Avacade received commission once the underlying investment was made. That would be a breach of the general prohibition in s. The Court was required to consider in detail whether the actions of Avacade constituted regulated activities under the RAO. DJ Johnson held that on the facts that was clearly the case. As to Articles 29 and 33, DJ Johnson held that a purposive approach to interpretation must be taken, which reflects the protection that the Articles in question sought to provide — being the protection against non-authorised and therefore unqualified persons seeking to obtain a reward from the making of an arrangement. Article 29 operates as an exemption to Article 25, if: a the transaction is made with or through an authorised person; b the transaction is being entered into on advice provided by an authorised person, or it is clear that no advice is being sought from the person conducting the arranging; and c the arranger is not receiving any pecuniary reward from any person other than the client. Therefore, crucially, the benefit of the exemption under Article 29 is lost if the arranging party receives a reward or pecuniary advantage, for which he does not account to the consumer. Given Avacade received commission in respect of the underlying investments, DJ Johnson held that Article 29 could not apply. Those monies flowed from the arrangement of the SIPP.
For many investors, justice will arrive 10 years after the crime was committed. I quote from the FT reporting. AA promoted the bond, receiving commission of 25 per cent, according to the judgment. This judgement comes as Stephen Timms and the Work and Pensions Select Committee investigate the impact of the pension freedoms.
It has become a commonplace for us to blame the pension freedoms for scamming, but these offences pre-dated the announcement of the freedoms in April The investment schemes project investments in infrastructure and socially responsible investments that gave investors a sense that their money was invested with purpose. Meanwhile , investors felt no such sense of purpose in their UK regulated funds. The imaging for the Paraiba Projects mini-bond.
If you want to read the backstory to the marketing of these investments, it has been chronicled for some years by Beat the Banks. Both companies operated as unregulated introducers, passing pension transfer business to a number of independent financial advisers IFAs including Cherish Wealth Management, appointed reps of Shah Wealth Management and Black Star Wealth Management. They offered potential customers a free, non-advised pension report, the results of which were skewed to entice them to transfer their funds into Self-Invested Personal Pensions SIPPs and invest in a host of alternative investments.
Variously these are said to include:. Investors will have known for some years that their money had been lost to commissions ,management fees and dissipated by unscrupulous asset managers who never quite got the assets built. The wheels of justice grind slow. Whether the money will ever be recovered is in doubt. Those who have lost money will be pleased that the perpetrators will not be authorised in future, but as they were not authorised in the past, this appears to make little difference.
Alexandra Associates still trades today and the Lummis and Fox families are still at large. If this is justice, it is partial justice and shows that the punishment for financial crime involving pensions is a lot softer than other forms of theft. It has taken 10 years to judge the scammers class of We need swifter and more complete justice as a deterrent. That means more timely investigations as well as the sexy TV ads.
Email Address. AgeWage: Making your money work as hard as you do. Skip to content. Will the next pension strip-off be unisex? Justice delayed is only just justice. The Avacade judgement is 7 years late Posted on August 11, by henry tapper. Like this: Like Loading Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Reply Cancel reply. Search for:. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
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