Directors disqualified over fine wine investment scam

Wine-Glass-Bottle-700.jpgTwo company directors have been disqualified for a combined 20 years after running a fine wine investment scam that lost investors nearly £1m.

An Insolvency Service investigation found that Crimson Fine Wines cold-called customers and then did not purchase or allocate wines to those who had paid for their investments.

The investment scheme offered investors returns over 12 months to five years, at a time when it claimed the property market and shares were less attractive.

Directors Craig Cooper and Jeffrey Kushner were disqualified for 11 years and nine years, respectively.

Kushner lived in Canada and allowed Cooper to run the operation in the UK. At the time of liquidation Crimson Fine Wines did not have enough wine in its warehouse to run the operation.

Cooper used the company’s bank account for his personal benefit and paid at least one third share of dividends into his own personal account.

Kushner was negligent in failing to monitor the company account and allowed it to be used for non-commercial benefits. He also received at least one third share of £114,106 in dividends.

Customer claims in the liquidation totalled £989,258 of the overall debts on liquidation of £1.08m.

Insolvency Service official receiver Karen Jackson says: “These disqualifications should serve as a reminder that the Insolvency Service will investigate unacceptable conduct by company directors.”

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Directors disqualified over fine wine investment scam

Wine-Glass-Bottle-700.jpgTwo company directors have been disqualified for a combined 20 years after running a fine wine investment scam that lost investors nearly £1m.

An Insolvency Service investigation found that Crimson Fine Wines cold-called customers and then did not purchase or allocate wines to those who had paid for their investments.

The investment scheme offered investors returns over 12 months to five years, at a time when it claimed the property market and shares were less attractive.

Directors Craig Cooper and Jeffrey Kushner were disqualified for 11 years and nine years, respectively.

Kushner lived in Canada and allowed Cooper to run the operation in the UK. At the time of liquidation Crimson Fine Wines did not have enough wine in its warehouse to run the operation.

Cooper used the company’s bank account for his personal benefit and paid at least one third share of dividends into his own personal account.

Kushner was negligent in failing to monitor the company account and allowed it to be used for non-commercial benefits. He also received at least one third share of £114,106 in dividends.

Customer claims in the liquidation totalled £989,258 of the overall debts on liquidation of £1.08m.

Insolvency Service official receiver Karen Jackson says: “These disqualifications should serve as a reminder that the Insolvency Service will investigate unacceptable conduct by company directors.”

The post Directors disqualified over fine wine investment scam appeared first on Money Marketing.

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Directors disqualified over fine wine investment scam

Wine-Glass-Bottle-700.jpgTwo company directors have been disqualified for a combined 20 years after running a fine wine investment scam that lost investors nearly £1m.

An Insolvency Service investigation found that Crimson Fine Wines cold-called customers and then did not purchase or allocate wines to those who had paid for their investments.

The investment scheme offered investors returns over 12 months to five years, at a time when it claimed the property market and shares were less attractive.

Directors Craig Cooper and Jeffrey Kushner were disqualified for 11 years and nine years, respectively.

Kushner lived in Canada and allowed Cooper to run the operation in the UK. At the time of liquidation Crimson Fine Wines did not have enough wine in its warehouse to run the operation.

Cooper used the company’s bank account for his personal benefit and paid at least one third share of dividends into his own personal account.

Kushner was negligent in failing to monitor the company account and allowed it to be used for non-commercial benefits. He also received at least one third share of £114,106 in dividends.

Customer claims in the liquidation totalled £989,258 of the overall debts on liquidation of £1.08m.

Insolvency Service official receiver Karen Jackson says: “These disqualifications should serve as a reminder that the Insolvency Service will investigate unacceptable conduct by company directors.”

The post Directors disqualified over fine wine investment scam appeared first on Money Marketing.

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Foster Denovo makes acquisition to kick off growth push

National advice firm Foster Denovo has acquired employee benefits consultancy TEBC.

The deal brings over 100 corporate client relationships, and Foster Denovo will look to build TEBC’s staff into its own employee benefits division, Secondsight.

Foster Denovo says the deal is the first in an acquisition strategy it will be pursuing.

Chief executive Roger Brosch says: “Whilst we have met with many potential acquisition opportunities, TEBC stood out for its similar culture to Foster Denovo and its client centric approach to conducting business. The acquisition of TEBC is part of our continued intent to bring in high quality clients, advisers and support staff to Foster Denovo over the next few years.”

The firms is rebuilding after losing its co-founder and a number of high-profile partners in 2014.

The firm bought in a new chairman to replace Keith Carby earlier this year, former Investec head of investment banking and securities David Currie.

TEBC managing director Sue Lewis said the firm would benefit from adding Foster Denovo’s financial education and wellness services to its remit.

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Pensions minister: Companies should offer in-house IFA

Employers should follow the lead of a Stoke-on-Trent pottery business that brings an IFA into their business on a regular basis as part of their HR offering, pension and financial inclusion minister Guy Opperman says.

Speaking at the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association conference yesterday, Opperman said Stoke-based Steelite, whose premises he had visited, should be applauded for offering free advice to its hundreds of staff by having an IFA based on their premises.

Setting out his financial inclusion credentials, Opperman said he was the only MP in the House of Commons who had set up a community bank to take on payday lenders by offering his constituents loans at reasonable rates.

Opperman confirmed that the Department for Work and Pensions would lead the pensions dashboard project, although he did not commit to a timetable beyond saying a further announcement should be expected in Spring 2018.

He said the Bill to establish a single financial guidance body should receive Royal assent next March, while an update on the auto-enrolment review should be published some time around 6th December 2017.

Opperman said: “There are not many situations where an IFA is coming into a pottery business to advise them on pensions. I do see things like this going forward. He is a massive addition to the business that they have.

“I’m first minister to be made financial inclusion minister…I am always stunned and amazed by how little organisations in all aspects of financial services don’t necessarily give financial capability, advice, or financial HR to their employees. So my job is also to nudge, encourage and applaud things such as a potteries business in Stoke brings in a financial adviser in on a regular basis and has done for many years.”

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Adrian Boulding: Putting the focus back on income

Boulding-Adrian-2012-700x450.jpgIt is sometimes all too easy to forget that pensions are about income throughout retirement, especially when members are having huge capital sums dangled under their noses like juicy carrots.

In final salary land, the current excitement over defined benefit transfers is driven by the enticing sums on offer. It is not surprising 80,000 people took the leap last year, with capital sums averaging 25 to 30 times the annual pension on offer.

And over in defined contribution land, the pension freedoms have brought a new focus to the pot size at retirement. Again, presented with the option of a large sum of cash, many are simply taking it.

But while the Treasury is enjoying the unexpected bonus of £1.6bn per annum tax receipts from people cashing in, it is encouraging to see the FCA trying to get the focus back on income.

The recent consultation on pension transfer analysis is very income focused. This should move forward quickly now with a Policy Statement, then new rules in 2018.

Going forward, advisers will need to start by looking at the client’s income needs, which may mean ignoring their objectives if those are short-term cash or better death benefits. And quite right, too; the pension is supposed to be all about retirement income.

Once the client’s income needs are established, and we know how they are going to be met, then we can move to other aspirations like buying that retirement caravan.

The FCA is also trying to help customers focus on income with the ideas it aired in its retirement outcomes review.

I like the idea of a default investment option for income drawdown. It removes one of the major obstacles for non-advised customers buying this retirement product; having to make an investment choice they know they are ill-equipped to determine.

The idea of an income drawdown comparison tool has merit too. I do fear it may be too heavily weighted to expense comparisons because regulators set great store by this, but if it helps people feel confident they have made a good choice with their scheme, then it can address the current level of consumer mistrust in pensions the FCA has identified.

Most interesting of all the ideas the regulator has floated is the concept of de-coupling tax-free cash from the retirement income decision. In the month Richard Thaler has been awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on behavioural economics, we should praise the FCA for its own understanding of the behavioural aspects of retirement.

In many cases, people are motivated by their tax-free cash and will choose the retirement income solution that gets them the quickest access to that money. The ill effects of a hasty decision can be avoided by de-coupling the access to 25 per cent tax-free cash from the decision about the other 75 per cent.

The FCA has also reiterated its call for innovation in the retirement income space. The pension freedoms were supposed to not only liberate consumers but also free up providers to create a new range of innovative retirement income products to meet today’s needs and modern ways of managing money like platforms. Providers, please bring them on.

Adrian Boulding is director of retirement at Tisa

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