Portafina got into trouble for providing unsuitable advice. They have had 88 out of 95 complaints upheld against them by the Financial Ombudsman Services (FOS) between 01/04/2013 and 29/03/2022.
However, the FOS decision page doesn’t include the count of cases currently under review, cases which have been time barred or cases which are subject to judicial review proceedings. It also doesn’t include clients who have not yet raised a complaint, as the firm may have offered to make annual payments until the investment issues have been resolved.
The High Court has now dismissed a claim by Portal Financial Services LLP in which the firm challenged 27 final decisions of the Financial Ombudsman Services via a judicial review.
Whilst Portafina had explained it had never before agreed to work with another authorised firm, it accepted business from Cherish Wealth Management Limited, who were an Appointed Representative of Shah Wealth Management Limited.
Portal undertook due diligence, in relation to Cherish, and was assured that it did not recommend or promote investments classed as Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes (UCIS).
Pension Transfer Advice
The regulatory body grants permissions to firms and individuals after carefully assessing both their qualifications and work history.
For example, an individual or regulated firm may have permissions to arrange mortgages and insurances but that doesn’t mean they have got permissions to advise on investments or pension transfers.
Some individuals may have permissions to advise on pension transfers and investments, but they may not hold the qualifications to advise on occupational pension transfers.
This is where introducer relationships are often established.
So, whist Cherish was an authorised and regulated firm, it did not have the required regulatory permissions to give pension transfer advice.
The purpose of the introduction was for Portal to advise on the suitability for Cherish’s clients of a transfer away from their existing pension arrangements.
The intention was that Cherish would then provide further advice on the investments to be held within the SIPP wrapper.
Portal explained that, without its knowledge, clients were advised to invest a portion of their pension pot in high-risk UCIS and suffered loss as a result which led to complaints.
The Ombudsman explained that Portafina ought to be responsible for the whole advice as:
- Portal was not entitled to split the advice on the suitability of the pension transfer from the suitability of the underlying investments, or to rely on Cherish to provide it;
- Accordingly, Portal failed in its primary duty to properly advise on the suitability of the transfer; and
- As a result, although Cherish “may also have separately caused” some of the client’s losses, the FOS said Portal failed in its primary duty to properly advise on the suitability of the transfer.
We have helped many clients who have transferred their pensions into a SIPP and invested in
- Hypa Asia Fund – Investment in ‘Off- Plan’ villas and hotel rooms intended to be sold at higher prices
- Raithwaites Hypa Fund – An investment into overseas property
- Koroni Fund – Money loaned against assessed financial claims
- Cool Blue Samui – Overseas property investments
- Venture Oil – Pre-purchased crude oil at an agreed set price
- EOS Solar – Investments in Solar Thermal power development in Cyprus
- Eco Planet Bamboo – Investment in bamboo plantation which failed
- Store First – Self storage to be let on your behalf
Our team are experienced and knowledgeable in bringing successful compensation claims to both the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
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Call us on 0333 358 0074 or contact us for an informal discussion to explore your options. You’ll also get a better understanding of how we work before deciding on your best course of action.
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ACL Consultancy Ltd have been in operation as a claims management company (CMC) for 10 years and have offered the lowest flat fee service in the industry since 2017. We welcome the new Financial Conduct Authority regulation to put a cap on CMC fees which came into effect this month.
We are able to work for a reasonable fee because we don’t buy your data from the companies involved in your claim. We pass these cost savings on to you. Our success is your gain.
Our team possess a deep knowledge of pension and investment compensation, including overseas property investment, and welcome your call to find what solutions are available to you. So, you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling us on 0333 358 0074.