Investments 

Fraudster adviser declared in default

Fraudster adviser declared in default

Nine advice firms have been declared in default by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), including one whose director was convicted of fraud.

KWS Wealth Management, a Milton Keynes-based firm that had its permissions cancelled in 2017 when the firm's sole director, Keith Smith, was convicted of insurance fraud. 

Mr Smith was convicted on indictment on October 21, 2015 at Gloucester Crown Court for failing to disclose his wife had been diagnosed with cancer while applying for a £200,000 life insurance policy.

He was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months, and the FCA cancelled his permissions saying he was "not a fit and proper person".

Kevin Neal Associates Wealth Management was also declared in default after the FSCS received a valid claim against the firm, which has not been authorised by the regulator since March 2015.

Director Kevin Gerald Neal founded the firm after his previous firm, Kevin Neal Associates Limited, went bust.

Kevin Neal Associates Limited was taken to court by former England football star Alan Shearer over the management of his pension investments.

The FSCS had paid out £3m in relation to this firm by July 2017 and further claims were in the works.

In May 2018 Kevin Neal, and his wife, Cheryl Neal, were banned from acting as company directors for six and four years respectively, for taking assets from Kevin Neal Associates Limited after the firm became insolvent in July 2013.

Their new firm, Kevin Neal Associates Wealth Management, had been incorporated to take over the wealth management business of the insolvent company including any liabilities.

But when claims started to come in they were found to have transferred £55,000 and two cars worth £22,120 to associated parties.

The other advice firms to have been declared in default were:

John B Carr Financial Services
Barchester Green Limited 
Hayden Williams Independent Financial Services Limited 
DFD Mortgages Limited 
The Wealth Partnership Limited
Bradford Peters Financial Services Limited
Castle Asset Management, formerly Lighthouse (South West)

Once a firm is declared in default, clients can apply to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme for redress. 

A firm is declared in default when the FSCS is confident that it has at least one valid claim against it and won't be able to meet that claim.

Alex Kuczynski, chief corporate affairs Officer at FSCS, said: "FSCS steps in to protect consumers around the UK when authorised financial services firms go bust.

"This vital service, which is free to consumers, protects deposits, insurance, investments, home finance and debt management.

"We want anyone who believes they may be owed money as a result of their dealings with any of these firms to get in touch as we may be able to help you."

david.thorpe@ft.com