View more on these topics

Pensions regulator bans ‘mastermind’ behind £13.7m scam

rejected stampThe Pensions Regulator has banned the man branded the “mastermind” of a £13.7m pension scam and his three accomplices from being trustees.

David Austin – along with Susan Dalton, Alan Barratt and Julian Hanson – ran a scam that cost 245 people their pension savings, after the members were persuaded using cold-calling and other techniques to transfer their pensions into one of 11 scam schemes.

TPR has now prohibited Austin from acting as a pension scheme trustee to protect pension holders while the Insolvency Service has disqualified him from being a company director for 12 years.

Dalton, Barratt an Hanson have also been banned from being trustees of pension schemes.

In January the individuals were ordered to repay the millions of pounds they took from the schemes after TPR brought proceedings against the quartet in the High Court.

At the conclusion of the case, Judge Mark Pelling ruled Austin had been the “mastermind” behind the scam.

Victims of the scam were told that if they transferred their pension pots to the schemes they would receive a tax-free payment commonly described as a “commission rebate” from investments made by the pension scheme – a form of pension scam.

The High Court ruled that Austin moved funds from the schemes to his bank account and the accounts of family members in the UK, Switzerland and Andorra through a number of businesses that he had set up in the UK, Cyprus and the Caribbean.

Austin and his family had derived at least £1.3m of benefit from the scam, Barratt had been paid more than £380,000, Dalton more than £168,000 and Hanson £7,000.

Part of the scam involved £120,000 of scheme funds being moved to a company whose directors included Austin and his daughter, Camilla Austin.

Austin had not been appointed as a trustee of any of the schemes, but TPR’s Determinations Panel has ruled that TPR should take action as he had been “dishonestly involved in the misuse or misappropriation of scheme assets”.

Banning him from being a trustee, it said: “The panel concluded that the evidence in relation to Mr Austin’s conduct was so serious, and his involvement in the receiving schemes was so close and influential, as to warrant his prohibition from acting as a trustee of trust schemes in general.”

The panel ruled Dalton, Barratt and Hanson should be banned from being trustees both for their dishonesty but also because of the amounts of money they took from the schemes.

Separately, the Insolvency Service has banned Austin from being a company director for 12 years and his daughter Camilla for four years for their role in the misuse of pension scheme funds.

TPR and the FCA joined forces in August to launch a new national awareness campaign about pension scams and revealed victims of pension fraud lost on average £91,000 each in 2017.



Pension scam victims lose average of £91,000 each

New figures reveal victims of pension fraud lost on average £91,000 each in 2017, as regulators launch a new campaign to crack down on scams. The FCA and The Pensions Regulator are working together on an advertising campaign targeting pension savers aged between 45 and 65. A survey commissioned by the regulators shows nearly one […]

Pension-Pensions-savings-retirement-piggy bank

Pension scam losses jump 70%

The delay on the ban of pensions cold-calling until the Autumn will continue to compound fraud problems in the pensions space, AJ Bell says. The platform has responded to figures from City of London Police who say pensions are the common target for the increased number of investment fraudsters this tax year. A total of £51m has […]


Standard Life Aberdeen moves ahead on share buyback plan

Standard Life Aberdeen is moving ahead with its share buyback programme, as it continues to spend millions on returning funds to shareholders in the company. In a stock exchange notice published this morning, Standard Life says it has purchased another 1,400,267 shares at an average of 300p. Recods show last week, it purchased another 1.5 […]

Where next for UK equities?

Senior UK Equity Fund Managers Martin Cholwill, Richard Marwood and Henry Lowson answer the question ‘Where next?’ for UK equities as the reality of Brexit draws closer. Speaking with Investment Week Editor Lawrence Gosling, the managers share where they believe future opportunities within UK equity markets will arise, outlining the characteristics they look for in […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I’m curious as to how these types of people are not banned for life and also sent to prison?

Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm