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Police in fraud probe into FCA-authorised friendly

It appears that some investors may have been introduced to Cornerstone via an unauthorised adviser who described himself as a ‘wealth protection specialist’.

In documentation seen by FTAdviser, the ‘adviser’ appeared to show clients how to fill in the Cornerstone and Liberty Sipp forms by using templates and described his help as “fool proof...for you to follow”, including lists of what clients need to do to open a self-invested pension.

Speaking to FTAdviser, Mr Fox said some investors who had approached Liberty were looking to open a deposit account with Cornerstone via their Sipp to liberate a percentage of their pension.

Liberty received several applications seeking to use a Sipp to invest into Cornerstone via a deposit account during a short period. In a communication seen by FTAdviser, Liberty alerted another self-invested provider, which also subsequently rejected a number of transfers.

Mr Fox said that it all seemed “very organised”.

He added: “What was happening before was that Sipp providers were targeted as they [pension liberators] can place esoteric investments easily.”

donia.o’loughlin@ft.com