Court orders ‘illegal pension introducers’ to pay £10.7m

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said on Monday the High Court has “ordered illegal pension introducers” Avacade, of Manchester, and Chesire-based Alexandra Associates and their directors to pay £10.71 million restitution to consumers.

“The two companies and three individuals must pay restitution to members of the public who were induced to transfer their pensions into self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs),” said the FCA.

“In a case brought by the FCA, the High Court has ordered two companies and three individuals to pay a total of £10,715,000 in restitution to members of the public who were induced to transfer their pensions into self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs).  

“The order was made on Friday 7 August 2020 against Avacade Limited (in liquidation), Alexandra Associates (UK) Limited trading as Avacade Future Solutions (AA), Craig Lummis, Lee Lummis and Raymond Fox. 

“In a judgment dated 30 June 2020, the Court found that Avacade’s and AA’s activities were unlawful as they had engaged in the regulated activities of arranging and advising on investments, made unapproved financial promotions through their websites, promotional material and in telephone calls to consumers and made false or misleading statements.

“The Court also found that the Lummises and Mr Fox were knowingly concerned in Avacade’s and AA’s breaches.”

A further hearing took place on July 31, 2020, to determine the amounts the defendants should pay in restitution for their roles in the activity.

“The Court has ordered the defendants to pay the following sums in restitution: £10,000,000 (Avacade), £715,000 (AA), £2,500,000 (Craig Lummis), £2,500,000 (Lee Lummis) and £1,700,000 (Raymond Fox).

“Additionally, AA, the Lummises and Mr Fox have been banned from engaging in regulated activities in the UK without authorisation, making financial promotions and making false or misleading statements about regulated investments.”

Mark Steward, the FCA’s Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight said: “The FCA will make wrongdoers financially accountable to consumers whom, as the Court recognises in this decision, ‘…include elderly and vulnerable citizens who have paid their due share of income tax, made sacrifices, and taken prudential decisions for their future retirement over the course of an honest working life”.  

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.