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Consumer Wealth – No stranger to deceitful tactics

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Consumer Wealth, the self-styled ‘personal financial planners’, has certainly proved itself to have an appetite for distasteful activities.

Pension transfer scams can often be quite simple, or in some instances involve three or four interested parties. Usually, an unregulated introducer targets those who have pensions in personal, occupational or Government schemes. They persuade them to transfer their money into another scheme or Sipp.

Cold calling and the hard sell

Whether through cold-calling or an ‘advisor’ turning up on the individual’s doorstep, they often offer a free pension review and sell the dream of ‘liberating’ one’s pension from the current, ‘stale’ or ‘frozen’ scheme. Expensive, high quality promotion materials will be produced. Promises of providing for the family for life on the back of guaranteed high-return assets will be touted.

Multiple issues, however, emerge when one looks more closely at the situation. Often the introducer pushes specific products, both in breach of the law, and failing to mention they often receive commissions of up to 50%. These products vary greatly from exotic timber plantations or bio fuel, to something local and part of everyday life such as storage pods.

Unsuitable schemes pushed to pension holders

They also often recommend a transfer of pension funds into a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) scheme, a flexible pension set up designed for high net worth individuals with previous investment experience. Often, these are pushed to unsuitable individuals, regardless.

In the process of doing such, usually the introducers and advisors recommend that a client contacts an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) in order to seek advice as they are unable to provide such (not that it stops them doing so anyway). In fact, as of 2015, in order to transfer pensions worth over £30,000, the involvement of an IFA is a requirement.

Consumer Wealth – is it all it seems?

Consumer Wealth seems to have taken up a rather unique position. The company has been regulated under the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) since 2015. Nearly 20 representative companies had previously operated under its licence. However, they have since applied to cancel their authorisation.

Consumer Wealth is no stranger to deceitful tactics. These are used to persuade clients to move their hard earned money into these unsuitable schemes.

In one thread on the Money Saving Expert website, an individual talks about being contacted out of the blue by Consumer Wealth and given the hard sell, taking on the role of introducers themselves. One of the more interesting comments on the post comes from a fellow target who received a call from another introducer called Pension Safe. Pension Safe is the trading name of Knight Meade Ltd, which has since dissolved, curiously only operating from May 2016 – October 2017.

After the conversation, he was sent documents to read and sign in order to authorise the company to act on his behalf. When looking up the company website, he found it to be ‘under construction’. He then came across the second document. It was a letter of authority to be signed and had Consumer Wealth instead of Pension Safe in the letterhead. Coincidentally, the Consumer Wealth website is currently ‘being redeveloped’, and has been for a while.

Consumer Wealth directors

The directors of the company are listed as Omar Hussein and Shazad Shakat. Coincidentally, Hussein is also apparently the senior compliance officer. However, he holds no previous regulatory experience. He works as a sales rep at Lloyds Bank, according to another thread on Money Saving Expert.

The poster also notes that the company doesn’t push its status an FCA regulated firm, certainly a point of interest.

It seems there are certainly a few questions emerging regarding this soon-to-be unregulated company. If you have been advised by the company and are worried about your pension, get in touch today. We can offer a free review with our pension mis-selling experts.