An adviser has been banned for eight years after he invested over £8m of clients’ pension funds in high-risk, unregulated schemes without carrying out adequate enquiries about their suitability.
Wolverhampton-based Gerard Blakemore, an authorised financial adviser, was the sole director of Blakemore Wealth Management, which was authorised to provide investment advice around self-invested personal pension schemes.
Between April 2012 and October 2018 the company invested funds on behalf of 34 clients but then entered into creditors voluntary liquidation.
The company was later brought to the attention of the Insolvency Service due to the level of losses the firm had caused its clients.
The Insolvency Service found that Mr Blakemore had invested clients’ funds in high risk investment schemes without first checking their suitability.
In the beginning, clients were aware of what their funds were being invested in but in 2012 he invested £8.3m without their knowledge in an unregulated overseas company.
Of this, only £607,500 was repaid to the clients and investigators discovered that Mr Blakemore was in fact a director of the overseas company from July 2017.
Further investigations found the adviser had personally benefited from these unsuitable investments and at no point did he seek client agreements before investing their funds.
He paid himself more than £247,000 through remuneration, dividends and benefits via commissions the company received.
Mr Blakemore also transferred £2.1m of client investments to another company registered overseas, of which he was also a director from July 2017, and received £1.7m in payment.
Mr Blakemore is now disqualified from being a company director for eight years after he agreed he had breached his duties as a director of Blakemore Wealth Management.
Dave Elliott, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “Gerard Blakemore was entrusted with millions of pounds to invest in legitimate pension investment schemes. The Wolverhampton director, however, totally disregarded his clients’ interest and caused substantial losses when he invested £8m in unsuitable products.
“Eight years is a significant ban and removing Gerard Blakemore from the corporate arena will protect investors from further harm due to his poor investment advice.”
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