Local Financial Consultants fed up of financial crime

local Financial Consultants
local Financial Consultants

Article by Mhairi

As local Financial Consultants, we’ve reported on the impact of financial crime for years now in numerous posts.

Some of the numbers for the amounts lost to fraud and scams are huge. Only last month Action Fraud reported that £600 million was lost in 2023 to different types of investment fraud. But when does anything seem to get done? Almost never according to new pressure group the Transparency Task Force (TTF) who organised an “Enough is Enough” march through London on the 18th March. Less than 1% of scams end up with a successful prosecution.

The TTF are trying to highlight the plight of victims who suffered from financial fraud. In many cases the victims have lost their life savings. They want action in the form of a public enquiry into the matter and in particular the failure of the various regulators who should be protecting the public but don’t seem to be doing their job. It’s about time that this type of crime made the headlines.

The march is being supported by a number of high-profile ex footballers who have suffered themselves from financial crime. They are being joined by a long list of victims of high-profile financial failures and scams. Going all the way back to the Scottish Equitable collapse back in 2000, and including victims of the Woodford collapse, Ark and the British Steel Pension Scheme. The TTF have featured on the BBC’s Panorama programme in the past.

The organisations the TTF is targeting for investigation includes the Financial Conduct Authority, The Financial Ombudsman Service, The Pensions Regulator and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. As local Financial Consultants, we have had issues with the way these organisations operate for years. They are rarely accountable to anyone and seem to preside over year-on-year worsening of the problems whilst charging us more and more to pay for them.

Also, on the hit list for the TTF are the Police who devote precious little resources to financial crime and HMRC who are often guilty of not rectifying their mistakes.

The TTF want to see a reform of the Financial Conduct Authority, reforms to the justice system to ensure proportionate punishment for financial crimes, support for victims and help in recovering their money and fair tax policies and treatment from HMRC. There is currently a petition going through Parliament to prevent HMRC from placing and chasing up additional tax penalties for those who have been victims of financial scams. This just compounds the pain and suffering for victims who are already in distress. This is being championed by the financial services industry led Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG)

The figures involved are truly shocking. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) reported that since 2019, they had handled 43,000 claims for compensation, which amounted to £2 billion in pension losses. These are losses from pension firms or advisers who have gone bust or been wound up. The FSCS has teamed up with Sky Sports legend Jeff Stelling to try to get the warning message out there because its men over 45 who lose the most money.

The maximum compensation the FSCS can pay is currently £85,000.

Always check that your local Financial Consultants are properly authorised by the FCA first.

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