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FCA confirms ban for jailed Norfolk IFAs

The Taylors posing for their company website

The FCA has confirmed that financial adviser pair Alan and Russell Taylor will not be allowed to work in any regulated position again after being jailed for 11 years on fraud charges.

The brothers, who ran Norfolk IFA Taylor and Taylor Associates, plead guilty to conspiracy to defraud earlier this year, after defrauding nearly 200 people out of almost £17m.

The brothers dishonestly caused clients to invest in a fund they set up, using an investment manager called Vantage Investment Group, which they were also directors and shareholders of.

The brothers advised clients that the Vantage Trader Index Fund was
suitable for them, but concealed the high-risk and speculative nature of the fund, failed to disclose their conflict of interest, and advised clients to move their funds to a Sipp without telling them that their investment would be transferred into the fund.

Police in Norfolk also accused the pair of fraudulently producing client records and misrepresenting documents, persuading elderly and vulnerable clients to sign them in order to gain access to their pension funds.

According to a statement from the Norfolk Constabulary, if the investments paid off the Taylors would take 20 per cent of the profits, but clients had to pay up for any losses.

In publishing final notices against the pair today, the FCA notes remarks from the judge in the case, who said that money spent by the brothers on luxury items could be traced directly back to them.

The judge ruled: “This was an elaborate and prolonged joint breach of trust against a large number of your own loyal clients, most of whom were already
pensioners or soon to become so.”

The FCA says the brothers’ conduct “demonstrates a clear and serious lack of honesty, integrity and reputation”.

Both Taylor and Taylor Associates are in liquidation. Mid-way through court proceedings, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme had already paid out £3.4m in redress over the misselling.

Each client typically lost around half their money, and the FSCS has encouraged claimants who got some money back through a police confiscation order on the firm to see if they could be entitled to more from the lifeboat fund.

When the firm closed in 2015, the Taylors blamed “regulatory costs” for the decision to shut up shop, and clients were not passed to other advisers, leaving product providers to get in touch directly.

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Comments

There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. The FCA confirms. Was there any doubt?

  2. SIPP’s again and unregulated funds. When will the unregulated funds be removed from UK Pensions. How long do we all have to keep paying out before someone in power, the regulator, pushes for these funds to be removed. It would be tomorrow if it was coming out of their pockets.

    Removal of unregulated funds from UK pensions would result in the vast majority of these frauds being prevented.

    It saddens me to see these cases as I cannot see how they thought they were going to get away with it. I am also angry, as those clients trusted these thieves, which now reflects badly on all advisers.

  3. So much for the FCA’s GABRIEL/RMA returns system. A complete waste of everybody’s time and money. What’s the point of requiring such returns if they don’t ask the right questions and nobody at the FCA even bothers to examine them?

  4. It is possible that the Gabriel return asks the right question, and that someone scrutinises the answers, and yet the ‘dodgy geezer’ in question fills in the return incorrectly.

    The problem with criminals is that they lie about the crimes they commit.

    This seems like an appropriate punishment – and was straight fraudulent behaviour. It’s part of what the FSCS is for, and I don’t mind paying my levy towards this.

    It doesn’t sound like the clients were even vaguely complicit with greedy behaviour as is sometimes the case.

    My concern would be that the firm shut in 2015. They were sentenced six months ago for FRAUD, and only now a final notice is issued. How much has the process cost, and how long has it taken? One feels that with a case like this a fast ‘ban them’ first determination could be made about 10 minutes after the guilty verdict, and an appeals process be available should the brothers be foolish enough to think it appropriate.

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