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Massow slams ‘barbaric’ treatment over claims

Prominent IFA Ivan Massow says endowments and FSAVC claims against him should be dropped because these were the best products for the gay community in the early 1990s.

Massow faces a 90,000 claim from Sesame for misselling compensation when he was a member of DBS. He is arguing that the homophobic practices of life offices and pension trustees in the early 1990s meant his gay clients literally had no alternative to the products he recommended.

Massow, a former chairman of the Institute of Contemp-orary Arts, made his name advising gay clients who found it difficult to obtain mortgages due to the hysteria surrounding HIV, with some providers inflating premiums for life insurance by up to 600 per cent.

He says when the endowment review is completed, he could be left paying hundreds of thousands of pounds and facing bankruptcy because Sesame has made no effort to argue that his product recommendations were justified. Sesame told Massow that, in today’s climate, it could not use homosexuality as a justification of sale.

In the early 1990s, Massow sought out life insurance policies for endowment mortgages offering the highest sum assured without asking about sexuality. He advised clients to take out FSAVCs as they could be moulded to allow benefits on death to be passed to a gay partner, something unlikely to happen with occupational AVCs. Massow was a DBS member between 1990 and 1997, advising 20,000 clients and becoming one of the top 10 IFA businesses in the country. Because of his profile, he was subject to numerous compliance visits from Fimbra.

Massow says: “I was a life- saver and a crusader standing up to a homophobic society to defend the interests of the gay community. My advice was the only option available at a time of hysteria and it is barbaric the way I am now being treated by Sesame and previous clients.”

Sesame customer services director Michael Couzens says: “We are in a difficult position having to fulfil our regulatory obligations.”

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