Adviser banned for nine years over Sipp advice

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The Insolvency Service has disqualified an adviser for nine years for failings relating to the transfer of low-risk pension products into high-risk storage-pod investments in Sipps.

The Insolvency Service says Keith Popplewell misused his position as an “approved person” since at least 16 July 2012.

It says Popplewell’s firm, The Pensions Office, failed to take into account clients’ financial circumstances, objectives, and attitude to risk. It also did not make sure there were appropriate systems, controls, risk analysis and management information in place.

According a notice from the service, the firm has not completed a “six-monthly” client compliance review since September 2010 and did not make sure the advice it gave was explained properly to clients by unregulated introducers.

Popplewell’s actions led to the FCA removing TPO’s permissions to give regulated pensions advice from 29 May 2013.

The Insolvency Service says at least 327 of TPO’s clients have invested at least £12m into storage-pods and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme has received 265 applications for compensation.

So far 61 of the claims have been found eligible and paid and at least £1.5m has so far been paid out by the FSCS to clients of TPO. 169 claims are currently under assessment.