Seller of Harlequin Property Investments, Tailormade, has been fined by the FCA
The chief executive of one of the biggest sellers of Harlequin Property Investments, Tailormade, has been fined almost £300,000 by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and has been banned for life from working in the financial services.
The investigation conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) concluded that Alistair Burns, the chief executive, failed to ensure that Tailormade provided suitable advice to clients on what to invest their pension in. Due to the company unable to afford to pay the claims made against it, Tailormade entered liquidation in September 2013.
A couple who made a claim against the company, state they are being “bled dry” after being advised from Tailormade to invest in Harlequin Property, through a self-invested personal pension (SIPP). The couple believe that they should have never been sold this type of investment and are now stuck paying expensive administration charges to another company called Guardian SIPP. These charges would have been paid from the returns on their investments however, are now swallowing up their entire pension savings.
From January 2010 – 2013, Tailormade provided unsuitable advice to customers like this couple, who were considering transferring or switching their existing pension funds to a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) into unregulated investments such as green oil, biofuels, farmland and overseas property like Harlequin. Tailormade was the biggest single seller of investments in Harlequin Property, making tens of millions of pounds from mainly UK pension savers money, promising consumers high returns from the development of villas in the Caribbean.
However, these high returns were non-existent; the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has upheld over 900 claims of unsuitable advice against Tailormade and the process failed to take into account a customer’s individual circumstances, demands and needs. As a director,Alistair Burns had a legal duty of care to advise clients where to put their pension and was required to take reasonable steps to ensure Tailormade complied with regulatory standards, however, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) thought he didn’t do this.