A Preston-based pension liberation scheme with more than £3m of investments has been wound up following an Insolvency Service investigation.
Thames Trustees convinced customers to move their pension fund into the Westminster Pension Scheme by promising a cash payment or commission on investments. In reality, Westminster was a pension liberation scheme and gave clients illegal access to their pension fund.
The Insolvency Service found that 79 members joined the scheme and invested more than £3.3m. Thames Trustees was wound up in the High Court last month.
The court found those behind the company received commission payments from client funds without knowing about the clients or their investments. According to the court, individuals listed as directors had no knowledge of what the company did or its investments.
It also said there was no value in the investments made, which included unregulated collective investment schemes and an unsuccessful land development in Florida.
Insolvency Service investigation supervisor Colin Cronin says: “The structure of this pension liberation scheme was deliberately opaque and the lack of transparency was added to by the failure of those in control of the company to fully cooperate with the investigation.
“The operation of the scheme was highly prejudicial to the clients who were required to invest their pension funds into it in order to obtain the early release of part of those funds. The balance of funds were not legitimately invested as clients were led to believe.”
The Insolvency Service also announced today that two investment companies – Spice Factory UK and Gummy Bear Films – have been put into provisional liquidation and are now subject to High Court action.