The Financial Factory was an Independent Financial Advice firm based in Northern Ireland. The company director was Brian Boyd, who also set up an introducer company called Property Factory. Property Factory later changed its name to NI Alternative Investments Ltd.
The Financial Factory was declared in default by the FSCS in September 2018 and both companies have since been dissolved.
Complaints about advice given by The Financial Factory regarding pensions and investments, were first upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service in 2017.
These complaints involved advice to move personal pensions into SIPPs which contained a high risk, unregulated investment – Harlequin.
From the evidence in these cases, it seems The Financial Factory failed to ensure that the investment in the SIPP was suitable for their clients.
In one case the FOS commented that …
“…The advice Mr G was given was defective. It did not encompass the intended investment in the SIPP (Harlequin)”
Harlequin Property was an investment scheme to create 6000 hotel and rental properties in the Caribbean and other locations.
It’s estimated £400m was put in by 6000 investors, the large majority of which were investors with SIPPS.
However, it’s been reported that only 300 of the proposed properties were actually built.
Harlequin Property is truly an example of SIPP mis-selling at its worst.
From unregulated marketing companies cold calling people using free pension reviews to negligent financial advice which saw people invest their pension pots into a totally unsuitable investment scheme.
In 2017 the Serious Fraud Office charged the chairman of the Harlequin Group – David Ames with 3 counts of Fraud by Abuse of Position.
Harlequin Property has since been valued at £0.
As many people who invested in Harlequin Property did so through their SIPP, the investment was popular with many SIPP providers, such as:
Whilst each case is individual, as pension mis-selling specialists we know to look for certain signs that in our experience indicate mis-sold pension advice may have been given.
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