Hennessy Jones Limited
The mis-selling of Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) has been making headlines recently thanks to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) ramping up their efforts to clamp down on unscrupulous behaviour and fraud within the industry.
Most cases of mis-sold SIPPs start with an unregulated third-party introducer or lead generator who passes clients on to pension advice firms. More often than not, these individuals are then persuaded to invest their pension funds into Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes (UCIS) via a SIPP.
High profits, low morals
In the case of Hennessy Jones Ltd – one such introducer – they were found to be passing business to Bank House Investment Management, Henderson Carter Associates and Financial Page, among others. Clients’ funds were then invested into non-standard assets like the AIGO fund, Hennessy Jones Bonds and a range of green energy projects.
Introducers like Hennessy Jones profited from this activity through high commissions and so their primary objective was to get as many investments as possible, regardless of their suitability.
The first point of contact between an introducer and a client was usually via cold calling or some other form of unsolicited contact, with the introducer offering to run a free pension review. In the case of Hennessy Jones, like many other introducers, there was little evidence found of any pension review process taking place. Yet, victims were informed their current pensions were under-performing and their funds would be better off invested elsewhere.
The FCA has repeatedly stated that this is rarely the case, but victims were placed in a vulnerable position believing their pension funds would not see them through retirement. Introducers like Hennessy Jones and associated pension advice firms capitalised on this vulnerability with little concern of the consequences.
In its investigations into Bank House Investment Management, Henderson Carter Associates and Financial Page, the FCA concluded that the company directors had acted “recklessly” and totally disregarded the interests of their customers in order to enrich themselves. All three firms had their pension advice business restricted by the FCA and were banned from doing business with Hennessy Jones.
Subsequently, all three firms were declared in default in 2017 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) with hundreds of claims of mis-sold SIPPs having been brought against them.
Undiversified, high-risk investments
The high-risk nature of unregulated investments means they should really be reserved for experienced investors and those with a high capacity for loss. Investment portfolios should also be diversified, and an investor should never be advised to put their whole pot into a single investment, as was the case with many customers Hennessy Jones lured in.
If the scenario described above sounds familiar to you, it’s possible you have been the victim of a mis-sold pension transfer or investment. It’s distressing to learn your money has been put at risk by the greed of so-called professionals who you believed were acting in your best interest but Beat the Banks is here to help you.
You may feel like there is nowhere to turn, but a chat with one of our advisors can help to bring you some much-needed clarity to your situation. Call us on 0800 193 1234 for a free, no-obligation discussion about your case.