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Correspondent&#39s week

Off to lunch with the Antichrist. But the Prince of Darkness is late – even later than me – as he manages to lose himself in Clerkenwell&#39s alleys.

When Satan, aka Julian Penniston-Hill of trail commission-grabbing Intelligent Money fame, sits down, we realise we have spoken before.

He invented those IFA Isa booklets which used to fall out of newspapers (not The Guardian). We both bemoan their passing – Julian because they were great earners and me because I lost easy articles of the “Shun these circulars of shame” ilk.

I discover that Intelligent Money has achieved “critical mass and more” so it will not be going away. We share a few bottles of wine and (hint to IFAs) I discover that he is caffeine-intolerant.

Back at the office, I am called by a 75-year-old Eastbourne pensioner who is a victim of the David Aaron Associates structured products&#39 debacle. Why any adviser ever pushed a product with a limited upside over risk-free gilts but with the potential of total capital wipe-out is beyond me.

The Guardian has consistently led on the structured products&#39 debacle. Unlike a rival, we do not carry the baggage of a five-year £5m-plus commission-sharing deal (under-written by an Isa supermarket) with an IFA.

My reader asks why Aaron directors are listed as creditors of David Aaron Partnership in documentation sent to him by Aaron administrator KPMG. He has the report to creditors. He sends it to me.

Most of my Guardian life is spent with readers and their problems. I will have a go at most things but I drew the line at a complaint originating in a late-running Aerolineas Argentinas internal flight.

An Australian reader (The Guardian website gets me global coverage) sends a link to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and a complaint involving Jayson Kline, whose Barcelona firm is the subject of a Spanish regulator warning and who has featured previously in my stories.

The Americans do not mince around. They call his Florida operation “a foreign currency boiler room run by brokers with dubious disciplinary histories which fraudulently solicited investors”. Eat your heart out, John Tiner.I contact Kline&#39s UK lawyer for Jayson&#39s version. He denies all the allegations.

The Nationwide quiz night is held at Madame Tussauds where we are surrounded by Kylie&#39s bum and Britney&#39s tits. It is great fun even if questions are hard. Who played drums on the film that won the Oscar for best music in 1982? I made this one up but the real questions were not much easier.

I have had some big run-ins with the Nationwide recently, culminating in five-figure reader compensations, but it is kiss and make up time.

The Aaron report arrives. Standard Life may note that Ned Cazalet is a creditor for £1,175. It also shows that Destini paid £900,000 for selected Aaron assets. I have eaten a few super-priced Aaron lunches. Like many, I saw them as a mix of flattery and humiliation.

Monday morning brings the big influx of reader emails. Can&#39t anyone in finance ever get it right?

I lunch with Barclays Bank&#39s new newspaper complaints interface person. We discuss two cases. In one, my reader ends up £11,000 better off. But while the other would have resulted in big money on the details I had, it seems the reader forgot £70,000 in cash.

I also meet a buy-to-let entrepreneur. His recipe is simple – buy cheap, go for rents and forget capital values.

On Wednesday, I get up early for a KPMG breakfast-time insolvency seminar. I meet partners involved in the Aaron crash. They tell me the Aaron directors will not be attending the creditors&#39 meeting so no blood in the streets. KPMG reckons many more IFA firms could follow Aaron into insolvency.

Some financial folk may think I am irresponsible. Not so. I receive a personal letter from Telegraph Investor Services/Chase de Vere Private Clients. It says: “As someone who has shown a responsible interest in investments…” What more validation could you want? But I shall be making my excuses on this one.

Tony Levene is a reporter for The Guardian&#39s Jobs & Money section


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