Ex-SJP adviser denies £180k fraud of elderly clients

A former St James’s Place adviser has denied defrauding four elderly clients out of £180,000.

The Exeter Express and Echo reports that Marc Payne advised four clients to invest in a drinks company called SPS which claimed to have major contracts with supermarkets, a turnover of £6m and a marketing contract to use the Lords Cricket Ground branding.

Richard Bliss, 91, invested £29,919, while Valerie Addicott, 83, William Maynard, 83, and Elizabeth Gage, 84, each invested £50,000.

The company was closed in 2012. One of the company founders has admitted fraud, while the other company founder has denied five counts of fraud and three counts of contravening regulations which control financial services.

Payne has denied one count of fraud and four of carrying out regulated financial activity without authorisation.

Payne told Exeter Crown Court he had invested £50,000 of his own money into the drinks company because he was impressed by the marketing literature.

He also gave clients letters saying the investments were high risk and not covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, and that he was acting outside of his role with SJP.

He told the court: “When I spoke to them I thought it was all going to plan. I made it plain this was something I was doing off by own back and was not covered by the FSA.

“I wanted to make it crystal clear to them that what they were investing in was nothing to do with SJP and it was not a product approved by them.

“It was something I had looked at personally and invested in personally and nothing to do with my position as a partner.”

The case continues.