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Adviser banned for nine years over Sipp advice


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.



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There are 18 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Surely not THE Keith Popplewell?

  2. This guy was a financial services Guru and a great and entertaining speaker to boot. I find it hard to believe he went bust, but then perhaps a sensible commercial decision for him perhaps. But to be sanctioned by the Regulator and having so many complaints? I think that maybe there is more to this story than first appears.

    For heaven’s sake who’s next? Danby Bloch? Tony Wickenden?

  3. Check the news since – business sells client list to United Claims for a cheap price (his wife’s claim’s management company and for which he works as the expert) and then they instigate claims against ‘himself’ – and the FSCS coughs-up. Disgraceful and we can only but hope there’s a glimmer of light that the FSCS can pursue that new firm and them privately for all the money involved….

  4. Living the Dream Dream ..... 10th April 2017 at 5:18 pm

    I used to have an agreement in place with Keith way back!
    Has FS got so bad these days!!

  5. I read your article with interest.
    On this case you state ” 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.”
    My understanding is that store pods are an illiquid investment suited for high net worth clients who are sophisticated investors.

    Two weeks ago I was contacted by clients who were encouraged to invest into store pods by an unregulated adviser who never produced a suitability letter for them, and the applications went to Berkeley Burke from a regulated adviser whom they never met! They also invested via Novia into property in Florida which again is unregulated and illiquid. They cannot cash in any of these investments and Berkeley Burke are charging £600 per annum in admin charges. They have now been told that they will be paying rates on these pods.
    My clients are normal retail clients who have a balanced attitude to investment risk.

  6. The way he and his wife have conspired to double their profits from these hapless clients is beyond belief. I have been approached by one of his victims to whom Mrs Popplewells CMC firm had offered to pursue compensation – in exchange for a 30% cut.

    Shameless doesn’t get near this pair

  7. Just how immoral can you get?? Is it true that he makes a small fortune by ‘signing-off’ on dubious investments then sells his client list to his Wife’s claims management company for them to claim compensation against the advice that he originally gave??? And remember, it appears that he also ‘consulted’ to his Wife’s claims management company!!! If genuine then our industry has found a new low – it is a very sad day.


    Disgusting how the FCA let this happen and then let his wife make 61 of the claims. Of which £1.5m has so far been paid out by the FSCS to clients of TPO. 169 claims are currently under assessment. These two should be banned from running any businesses for LIFE

  9. Good grief! How the mighty have fallen. It seems that this pair believe Ethics is next to Middlesex.

  10. Am amused to see Money Marketing describes Mr Popplewell simply as “an adviser” and not “financial services personality of the year 1999-2001 Keith Popplewell” or “CII text book author Keith Popplewell” or “Former FSA trainer Keith Popplewell”. Of course, ‘technically speaking’, he should be remembered as “Money Marketing Columnist Keith Popplewell”.

  11. Such a prominent financial services figure…….. its bad enough that some unknown, pond life so called advisers do this kind of thing

    I feel very angry he has let the side down very badly and contributed to untold reputable damage…..

  12. I remember this guy holding himself out in the past as an expert on pension transfers and being accepted as such in the business. Based on that he can’t claim that he didn’t know what he was doing. It seems like he is now using his wife’s claim management company to make claims against the FSCS on cases where he actually provided the advice. Based on the maximum payout of £48,000 and them taking 30% that could amount to £14,400 per case. The Gall of some people!

  13. Following on from my previous post. The FSCS should write to every claimant through his wife’s claim management company and tell them that this firm is operated by the wife of the person who provided you with the initial advice to transfer your benefits. That would put a stop to their cunning plan to earn money from the bad advice provided.

  14. Hang on before we get too judgemental. I have heard that he had some serious personal problems. In which case he probably had his eye off the ball and these lapses where created by staff who weren’t properly supervised. No real excuse, but just perhaps he was trying to set things right by helping the miss-sold to make claims. Just a thought – please don’t bite my head off.

    Just goes to show that it is staff that are the biggest risk in a financial advice business. That is precisely why I steadfastly remained a sole trader.

  15. Things change…………

  16. Trevor Harrington 15th April 2017 at 10:46 am

    Serious personal problems ….
    That will be the key …

    And it is also precisely reason why FIMBRA created “the four eyes compliance principle”.

    A hitherto perfectly professional and ethical Adviser, goes of the rails and rips his clients off when he perceives his own personal need for money, usually because of some personal financial crisis, to be greater than his own personal belief in morals and ethics.

    The regulator will always be several years behind the ” Adviser’s turning point” until they devise a system of spot picking the obviously suspicious cases that Advisers are writing on a MONTHLY basis. And this can only be done by Advisers with experience at the coal face …. who the Regulator still steadfastly refuses to employ …

    On we go …

  17. I applaud your wish to be fair Harry Katz BUT I can assure you that with this individual it is sorely misplaced -Popplewell would know exactly what was happening and as he was reported to FSA in 2007 who passed over it without any proper investigation I cannot believe he had been able to continue in the industry till 2013 without any constraint.I think there would be little or no staff involvement

  18. I’ve know him for years, you always had to ask his advice before opening time. I don’t like sound of this, probably no worse than Hector Saints taking a job from Barclays for £3,000,000. He went off sick when he saw the number of complaints, but never gave the money back, or his title. Ah but of course he as a regulator so that’s perfectly allowable. Gosh Tracey Dermot is now a Dame, ah who give a Dame. Double standards folks they are all at it.

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