Abana is a Portuguese advisory firm. Its business model involved generating fees from advisors conducting activities in the UK.
The firm closed its UK business in December 2020 and we have been advised that the Portuguese business was closed in December 2021.
The company’s advisors were arranging investments in relation to pensions or discretionary fund managers (DFM’s).
Whilst the Financial Ombudsman Services (FOS) has upheld a number of complaints brought against the firm, Abana failed to settle those.
The cases reviewed assessed the advice by Mr Richard Fletcher, also trading as Richard Fletcher Associates or New Beginnings (Financial Solutions) Limited.
Mr Fletcher was not only linked to Abana Unipessoal Lda, but also to Joseph Oliver – Mediacao de Seguros LDA.
Those SIPP’s facilitated investments in a number of unregulated funds via bonds using ePortfolio Solutions:
• the Brighton SPC – Kijani Commodity Fund (Kijani)
• the Swiss Asset Micro Assist Inc Fund (SAMAIF)
· TCA Global Credit and
· Montello Real Estate Opportunity funds
Whilst Abana argued that they could not be held responsible for Mr Fletcher’s actions, the Ombudsman services found evidence that Abana were actively chasing adviser fees to be directly paid to them.
The Ombudsman concluded that Abana had largely failed to engage with the merits of this case, despite clear evidence of the relationship it had with Mr Fletcher and it concluded that Mr Fletcher was acting as an agent of Abana with its actual authority to deal in pensions and arrange SIPPs.
In permitting Mr Fletcher to conduct pensions business, Abana would have known, or at the very least should have known, that such activity was outside of its regulatory permissions which were restricted to insurance mediation activities.
It didn’t take reasonable care to organise and control its affairs responsibly and effectively, with adequate risk management systems.
In June 2015, clients were transferred to Abana FS Ltd, a firm set up by Kenda Bins, who previously was connected to Mr Fletcher through her work at New Beginnings (Financial Solutions) Limited.
Abana FS Ltd rebranded as KB WEALTH MANAGEMENT LTD in August 2015 and has since been dissolved in July 2019.
Unsuitable Pension Transfer or Investment Advice
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