Gerard Associates were a financial advice firm established in 2006 and based in Bristol.
Several complaints were made to the Financial Ombudsman by clients concerning the advice Gerard Associates had given them to transfer their occupational pensions.
In two cases upheld by the FOS both clients were contacted by First Review Pension – an unregulated introducer company – before being passed on to Gerard Associates.
First Pension Review also have connections to The Resort Group – a high risk unregulated investment in luxury resorts in Cape Verde. The Resort Group were the subject of a Panorama “Rip-off Pensions” documentary in 2016.
Other cases that were also upheld against Gerard Associates involved Viva Costa International – another unregulated introducer.
In 2016 The Pension Regulator revealed details of its investigation into London Quantum Retirement Benefit Scheme. The scheme attracted concern that it was being used for pension liberation and putting members at risk with risky and illiquid investments.
According to reports £5.8m of pension funds had been placed in the scheme which had nine different investments. These investments included The Resort Group and Best International Car Parks in Dubai both of which are high-risk and unregulated.
In the report the then trustees of the scheme – QIMS told the regulator that Gerard Associates were responsible for finding and liaising with introducer firms. They also as provided documents to members to say they were self-certified “sophisticated investors”
High-risk, unregulated investments like these are usually only promoted to people with a high net worth or who are sophisticated investors. That means they have some knowledge or experience of high-risk investment and accept the responsibility they could lose money.
Unfortunately, in the case of LQRBS it seems many investors who weren’t sophisticated signed these declarations anyway.
Gerard Associated also advised clients into Optimus Retirement Benefit Scheme. This was a QROPS scheme based in Malta and run by Integrated Capabilities.
Strategic Wealth (who traded as Gibro Wealth) were also involved in advising people to transfer into their pensions into this now defunct scheme.
Gerard Associates are currently in liquidation. In 2019 they were declared in default by the FSCS, who are now accepting claims against the company.
Mis-sold pension advice can come about as a result of many different factors. Sometimes it’s poor or negligent advice by a financial adviser to move your pension. In other cases, the risks involved with the investments are downplayed or the client’s attitude to risk has not been accurately reflected in the choice of investment.
If you are worried you may have been affected by pension mis-selling – we may be able to help.
We offer a free initial assessment to see if you may have been mis-sold. It’s simply a brief chat with one of our trained assessors.
Whilst each case is individual, as mis-selling specialists we know to look for certain signs that in our experience indicate that mis-selling may have happened.
Our assessment is free and there’s absolutely no obligation to use our service if you have case.
You are not required to use our services to pursue your claim. You can also seek further advice or shop around subject to any time limits within which a claim must be made.
It is possible for you to present the claim for free, either to the firm or person against whom you wish to complain or to the statutory ombudsman (Financial Ombudsman Service or Pension Ombudsman Service) or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, whichever is applicable to your claim.