Financial Services Compensation Scheme  

FSCS launches legal probe into claims against failed DFM

FSCS launches legal probe into claims against failed DFM

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has passed its investigation into troubled wealth manager Greyfriars Asset Management to its internal legal team to determine what regulatory breaches have occurred.

According to an update on the FSCS's website, its investigation into Greyfriars and specific Sipp issues has now been moved to its legal team, who are looking at Greyfriars' activities “to identify the specific regulatory breaches that may have occurred”.

The FSCS said it will provide an update on the investigation’s progress in due course.

The lifeboat scheme said to date it has received 241 applications for compensation against Greyfriars, which defaulted in April.

Out of these, 35 were unsuccessful while two have been upheld but so far the FSCS has only paid out £209.

The two claims related to regulated collective investment schemes and investment bonds, it said.

According to the FSCS, claims submitted against Greyfriars typically relate to a number of investment portfolios offered by the DFM. 

The portfolios were numbered one to six and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had previously expressed concerns about Greyfriars’ Portfolio Six (P6) offering in particular.

In 2016 the FCA instructed Greyfriars to stop accepting any new money into the Greyfriars Asset Management Portfolio Six on a permanent basis.

Greyfriars’ P6 was a variety of unregulated overseas property-based corporate bonds, with at least one of these since going into administration. 

Meanwhile, some of the other claims relate to self-invested personal pensions, pension advice and personal pension opt outs.

Greyfriars was declared in default by the FSCS in April, after the lifeboat fund received at least one eligible claim against the firm.

Administrators had been appointed to Greyfrairs in October 2018, shortly after Hartley Pensions bought the wealth manager's Sipp and small self-administered scheme (Ssas) businesses for £820,000.

The advisory arm of Greyfriars was sold to Insight Financial Associates for £440,000 in the same month, while its discretionary fund management division had already been wound down in 2017. 

The FSCS said it was aware that FCA authorised advisers may have recommended people to invest with Greyfriars or to transfer their existing pensions or investments through a Sipp.  

If the adviser is no longer trading, claims of this nature could also find themselves on the doorstep of the FSCS. 

One such adviser, Consumer Wealth, entered liquidation in January last year after receiving 13 Financial Ombudsman Service complaints against it.

amy.austin@ft.com

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