Cold calling pension transfer scam nets £21 million before being shut down

Published:  8 Jun at 4 PM
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A High Court judgement on May 30 has resulted in six fraudulent pension transfer and finance companies being shut down for defrauding clients out of £21 million.

Although no mention has been made of British expats losing their savings via the scam, this shocking tale of misuse of responsibility for personal gain should act as a warning to UK pensioners all over the world. A flood of complaints about the companies’ activities resulted in a full investigation of six financial advice companies by the UK government’s Insolvency Service and the eventual closing down of all the firms.

As with many such scams since pension liberation was introduced, IFAs working for the six companies used cold calling to trap victims by questioning their existing pension funds and offering free reviews. Despite endless warnings by the UK’s FCA, many were sucked in, including cash-strapped retirement savers encouraged to borrow against their pensions once they’d moved funds to the scammers’ firms.

The resulting accountancy chaos has prevented the Insolvency Service from recovering the bulk of the millions lost, or even giving a verifiable final total of the full amount. Over 500 pension savers were duped into transferring their pensions from their original providers to Fast Pensions, acting as the sponsoring employer and providing 15 schemes. FP Scheme Trustees Ltd acted as the trustee of all the schemes, with a proportion of the funds transferred to four related finance firms.

All the schemes on offer were misrepresented by the scammers, with the so-called advisors failing to disclose returns, high risks and the illiquid nature of the investments as well as any member benefits. Commissions, of course, were also not mentioned, although the investigation revealed some £4 million had been received by the salesmen, and scheme members were promised a wide-ranging portfolio later discovered to have been non-existent.

Adequate accounting records weren’t preserved, maintained or produced on request, with all involved failing to cooperate with the investigation. As a result, the Insolvency Service was unable to determine the remaining value. if any. of the investors’ pension funds. The other four companies involved are Blu Financial Services Ltd, Blu Debt Management Ltd, Blu Personal Finance Ltd and Umbrella Loans Ltd, all based in Bewsey Street, Warrington.
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