Fraudster adviser brothers were 'out of their depth'

Fraudster adviser brothers were 'out of their depth'

Two financial advisers who defrauded hundreds of investors were "inexperienced" and had a "false belief" in their abilities, a court has heard.

Norfolk brothers Alan Taylor, 38, of St Stephen's Road, Norwich, and Russell Taylor, 37, of Trunch Road, Mundesley, admitted to defrauding 237 investors through a high-risk investment scheme at a hearing in March.

They used £16.7m of their clients' money and invested it into Vantage Investment Group (VIG), an investment fund of which they were directors and shareholders, without their clients knowing it was high risk.

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But barrister Mark Fenhalls, mitigating for Alan Taylor in King's Lynn Crown Court yesterday (3 May), said VIG was a real business which Alan Taylor had set up with good intentions.

He said Alan Taylor had left school aged 16 with only one GCSE - a D in economics - and spent four years in the army before working with his father at Taylor and Taylor Associates.

After helping clients save a lot of money during the 2008 financial crash, he had developed a "false, inflated belief of his own ability born from that success."

The brothers inherited Taylor and Taylor Associates - along with its clients - from their late father Richard Taylor.

Mr Fenhalls said it was "astonishing" that someone with limited academic abilities could qualify and then become regulated by the financial services.

He tried to "cover up his sins" by lying to clients in the hope that he could restore the money his clients had invested and that he had a "desire to live up to his father's expectations."

Mr Fenhalls added: "He thought he rightly guessed the market. He made some spectacular mistakes.

"It is without question true that Alan Taylor is deeply sorry for what he has done, unlike many he is not feeling sorry for himself, he is just sorry for what he has done to other people.

"His sorrow extends to his younger brother Russell, he accepts he was the driving force behind Vantage."

Barrister Richard Bentwood, mitigating for Russell Taylor, said the defendant was "woefully inexperienced" and that he was appalled people suffered as a consequence.

He added: "Russell Taylor wanted what was best for his clients, he did not go into this setting out for anybody to lose.

"He persuaded people to invest because he believed it was a good idea but of course in hiding the true risks associated in it his act became criminal.

"He is not a wicked man but someone who was out of their depth."