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Advisers sound warning over dubious ‘leads’

Advisers have sounded warnings over a lead generation firm that took fees from a number of intermediaries, after supplying prospective client details that appear to be fake.

Jane Finn of Bristol-based IFA firm Finn Associates and an adviser from Bury-based First Financial IFA both told FTAdviser that Findmeanadvisor.biz contacted them offering a lead generation service on an exclusive basis in their area.

The offer included a one-week free trial with two ‘leads’. Both advisers decided to sign up to the service after successfully setting up meetings with the two prospective clients, and paid fees of £175.

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However, the clients did not show for arranged meetings and the advisers were then subsequently unable to contact either them or Findmeanadvisor.biz.

Although given different addresses in their respective local areas and different contact numbers, the names of the leads given to the advisers were identical.

FTAdviser was not able to contact either apparent prospective client on any of the numbers provided, for comment.

Both advisers liaised with a salesperson named Kyle Morris. When approached by FTAdviser, Mr Morris said he was simply a work-from-home salesperson who had responded to a job posting on Gumtree.

According to Mr Morris he was hired by a man named Paul Cosgrove, who until last week was listed on Findmeanadvisor.biz as a partner. He said he never met Mr Cosgrove face to face.

FTAdviser was given a mobile number for Mr Cosgrove, but there was no response and no answering service was available.

Mr Morris said he and other salespeople all worked from home.

Discussing the leads in question, he said: “I thought hang on, I have already got these. He [Mr Cosgrove] said what they do is send a couple of leads over so they can monitor what kind of company they are. He used to say it’s mystery shoppers so he can see if the companies signing up were reputable companies.

“He used to say to us we report back to him. I just thought, fair enough at least they will get real leads when they follow up with him.”

Mr Morris added that he has had 35 advisers sign up for the trial, of which approximately a third went on to sign up and pay the firm £175.

Findmeanadvisor.biz is not listed on Companies House and is not related in any way to Chesterfield-based firm Findmeanadviser Ltd, nor the Flordia, US website Findmeanadvisor.com.

The adviser from First Financial said: “He [Mr Morris] provided me with two leads: names, addresses contact numbers and a breakdown of what these people required.

“I contacted the leads and spoke to both people. They clearly did have a need and they were ready to take it to the next level so I booked two appointments. I back-transferred the [£175] six-month fee because he [Mr Morris] said he had 10 more leads. [However,] I went to the first client and nobody lives at that address.