FSCS fields 600 claims against DB transfer adviser

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has received at least 625 claims against a collapsed advice firm involved in defined benefit transfers into high-risk Sipp investments, Money Marketing can reveal.

Data provided by the lifeboat fund shows that the FSCS has so far made 530 decisions on claims relating to Merseyside firm Henderson Carter Associates, of which 446 have been upheld.

Another 95 claims are currently being processed, and 84 applications are in the process of being submitted, giving a total of 778 claims that the FSCS is aware of.

Henderson Carter was declared in default by the FSCS in March 2017. Its FCA register entry shows the firm was told to cease all pensions business, including any pension switches or transfers in Sipps, by the FCA until its sales processes was reviewed.

Data from the FSCS provided to Money Marketing on claims against Henderson Carter

It also faced a requirement not to put any non-standard investments into Sipps. The FCA said it had found “serious concerns with respect to the adequacy of the Firm’s pensions advice”, including around its relationship with introducer firm Hennessy Jones, which it was told to terminate any business relationship with.

It was also told to describe its advice in relation to personal pension schemes as restricted as opposed to independent.

An FSCS spokesman says: “The vast majority of claims received by FSCS against Henderson Carter Associates relate to negligent pension transfer advice.

“In most cases customers were advised to transfer out of existing pension arrangements into Sipps. Many customers ended up investing in products or funds not consistent with their attitude to risk given their circumstances at the time they were advised to transfer.”

Henderson Carter’s website is currently unavailable, and Money Marketing was unable to contact the firm at the email address listed on its FCA register entry for comment.

Former director Aiden James Henderson does not currently have any additional positions listed on his FCA register or Companies House entries.

Earlier this month, a liquidators’ report for the firm showed that the FCA and Financial Services Compensation Scheme were continuing to investigate two years on from the firm’s collapse into default.

Shropshire-based Financial Page, another advice firm that was declared in default around the same time as Henderson Carter and also had an appointed representative relationship with Hennessy Jones, set up a crowdfunding page in February to support a legal challenge to the FCA’s action against the firm.

Director Andrew Page also does not currently have another role listed on the FCA register or Companies House.

The FCA declined to comment.

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Comments

There are 12 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. So that’s yet another huge interim FSC levy in the pipeline.

  2. I’ll get my cheque book out.

  3. Is the FCA fit for purpose?

  4. Words fail me -Unbelievable…

  5. Someone in the food chain should have the MI data which could have easily identified this train crash as it was building up rather than after it actually happened. Whilst I agree with the FCA’s recent Dear “Ceo letter” https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/correspondence/dear-ceo-letter-managing-the-risks-of-defined-benefits-to-defined-contribution-transfers.pdf they need to do their part and make sure that firm reporting of MI data on OTHER firms helps identify these train crashes by combining data from different providers to identify who is doing what at the coalface like this.
    I can’t believe that the FCA weren’t warned by other advisers local to this firm as to what they were doing well before the train crash.

    • We read here and elsewhere numerous accounts of advisers having drawn such information to the attention of the FCA, only for it to have done nothing with it. How can we be surprised that so many conclude: Why should I bother?

      Apart from that, one has to ask (perhaps Nicky Morgan should) why the FCA didn’t start demanding (and acting upon) such data years ago by way of its GABRIEL system. Five simple questions:-

      1. How many DB transfers has your firm arranged?

      2. How many from which schemes?

      3. What have you been charging and

      4. By what methods?

      5. Into what types of investment vehicles have the monies been invested?

      6. Does your firm’s PII policy cover advice to invest in non-mainstream investments? If not, cease providing such advice immediately.

      Why has the FCA still not mandated a regime of special permissions for advising on non-mainstream investments?

      It seems so simple and so obvious.

  6. What Sipp Providers are involved

  7. It seems to me that there is a recurring theme here !

    Again we see damage en-mass by just one or maybe a couple of firms, it what seems to be “fill your boots and fold” dumping the liability on the rest of us.

    I think the FCA have been for some time falling foul of their own rules and regulations, tripping over themselves, and leaving gaps in the defence so wide people stroll through un-noticed and nu-challenged.

    And we see ourselves (yet again) collectively punished for the wrong doing of the one or few …..which is in fact illegal ! and until this is brought to everyone’s attention and addressed, the FCA continue this practice because the laws of our land that protect all its citizens (or should do) don’t apply to us.

  8. When you have no rules you find it difficult to enforce them. Its the down side in seeking to having no accountability by having guidance. Rules mean the regulator is accountable, guidance?

    There are no rules that state you cannot invest these clients in to SIPP’s and unregulated investments. This means the FCA cannot act until it has already clearly gone wrong and we have to pay.

    Until unregulated investments are removed from Pensions this will continue.

  9. A single firm undertaking at least 625 DB transfers and the FCA have no clue?

    At what point do the alarm bells ring at the FCA?

    Do they actually care?

    One of their three roles is to protect consumers. Can they honestly say that they haven’t failed with these two firms?

    Astonishing.

  10. Forgetting the regulators failings for a moment. I sincerely hope that the directors of both these companies (assuming there is evidence of malpractice) should be personally banned for life from holding any regulated or directorial position.

    However that doesn’t get round the fact that the companies will have been Ltd and they as directors will have been likely taking vast sums out of the companies i.e ill gotten gains and should be forced to repay this regardless of the Ltd Co status.

    However I 100% guarantee this won’t happen.

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