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Platform apology and Sipp responsibility: week in news

Platform apology and Sipp responsibility: week in news

It is often said a Royal occasion is a good day to bury bad news.

But given the minimal fanfare for Princess Eugenie's nuptials today (12 October), this one is probably not a safe bet to try and sneak something out.

So as the royals toast the happy couple and the news agenda winds down for the weekend, why not take a look back on the highlights from the week that was full of platform apologies, pensions and prosecutions.

1) Time to say sorry

It may have been a coincidence that platform technology provider FNZ said it was taking responsibility for bungling Aviva's replatforming on the same day the insurance giant announced its chief executive was leaving.

FNZ chief executive Adrian Durham said his company had learnt from the debacle that made Aviva's platform unavailable for six days earlier this year and said it won't happen again.

Considering FNZ is responsible for more than £330bn in assets under administration held with companies such as Standard Life Aberdeen, Santander, Lloyds Bank, Vanguard, Quilter, Aviva, Zurich and UBS, such projects should be old hat.

But the damage has been done and confidence dented, so Mr Durham's statement is rather bold given the next big task for FNZ is to ensure a smooth transition for Quilter’s replatforming project.

No pressure then.

2) Where is the cash?

A former HBos banker behind a £245m swindle has been told to repay just £131,332.92, while investigators scour the globe to recover the rest.

This is the story of banker Lynden Scourfield, who forced struggling clients to use the services of his friend David Mills.

He authorised eye-watering loans to high-risk clients from his HBos office in Reading and ordered them to engage with Mills's bogus company. That company then creamed off millions to fund property purchases, birthday bashes in Thailand and Barbados, trips to Ascot, and a yacht.

When the firms went into administration, Mills seized what assets were left and transferred them to his sham companies.

Scourfield's rewards included lavish gifts, hospitality, and romps with high-class hookers, even keeping a stash of viagra in a rented flat to fuel his orgy frenzies with porn star Suzie Best.

That viagra will be long out of date next time Scourfield wishes to use it, as he is currently serving an 11-year jail sentence for conspiracy to corrupt, money laundering and four counts of fraudulent trading.

3) The Sipp buck stops here?

It is always sad to read about people who have fallen victim to fraud, particular when it involves the loss of most or all of their pension savings.

But who is ultimately responsible for ensuring someone’s pension is invested appropriately?

Is it the financial adviser or the pension provider?

This is the debate that is raging across the industry and, more specifically for these purposes, in the courts this past week as pension provider Berkeley Burke defends its position.

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