The FCA asked Asset Independent Financial Advisers Ltd to comply with their requests to cease work.
Based in North Humberside, Asset Independent Financial Advisors Ltd has been authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority for well over a decade, but has now been asked by the regulator to cease all regulated activity introduced to them by firms and individuals not authorised by the FCA until they undertake a Section 166 – Skilled Person Review.
What this means, is that the FCA had concerns about the way Asset Independent Financial Advisors Ltd were conducting their business, and insisted on an independent review of their practices before considering whether they would be allowed to continue in a regulated capacity.
Asset Independent Advisers Ltd and Unregulated Introducers
Unregulated introducers have been considered a problem for some time by industry critics, and in particular by those that have been mis-sold their pensions and investments through SIPPs, often cold-calling and using aggressive sales tactics, shoe-horning ordinary people who cant stand to lose their pension into high-risk investments such as overseas property.
While information make public by the regulator does not indicate either the unregulated introducers involved, nor the underlying investments, we do know the regulator uses the wording that Asset IFA must “immediately cease all regulated investment activities involving non-mainstream or non-standard investments, including where such assets are included in a DFM or other form of portfolio/layering, regardless of the source of referral”.
However, a report in CityWire did say that Asset IFA has a relationship with unregulated introducer, Pension Connect. It is also known that a director at Pension Connect and other members of staff previously worked at First Review Pension Services, one of the focal points of a BBC Panorama documentary in 2016 about “Pension Rip-Offs”.
The FCA published a warning to Pension Scheme operators about evolving scams in DFM portfolios back in January 2017: “third generation scams now use the services of a discretionary fund manager to create an investment portfolio that does not require the direct input of the investor; this portfolio then invests in SPV bonds”.
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