Standard Life has warned advisers to be aware of fraudsters attempting to impersonate clients after four IFA firms and their clients were scammed resulting in money being taken from Standard Life products.
The company says organised criminal gangs have hacked client email accounts and used them to identify where they have invested money.
The fraudulent gangs then use the email account to contact the customer’s financial adviser, providing bank details and asking them to encash their investment to a new account.
Standard Life says some of its clients have been targeted by the scam, with four savers seeing money fraudulently withdrawn in the last week.
It has issued a note warning Standard Life staff and adviser clients to be alert to the scam and suggested advisers verify email instructions over the phone with clients. It warns advisers to be cautious of email communications with broken English and grammatical errors.
It adds the fraudulent instructions typically request money to be transferred via telegraphic transfer or CHAPS.
The warning reads: ”The purpose of this communication is to raise awareness to all staff. We all have a responsibility to protect our customers’ assets and assist financial advisers any way we can by ensuring any requests received are indeed genuine.”
An FCA spokesman says: “The FCA does not require investment advisers to have insurance against investment fraud. We do require all regulated firms to have robust systems and controls to protect against and reduce the chance of financial crime occurring.
“We would only hold a firm responsible for paying redress if they were at fault for the wrongdoing.”