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Fraudulent investments?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Savings & Investments
114 replies 18.7K views
M.ElliottM.Elliott Forumite
26 posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Savings & Investments
Would be very grateful for some help with regards to an upsetting and highly stressful time for my parents. On the advise of their financial adviser they invested their entire life savings into two separate sister companies: helix investment management and munio capital. These are companies then invested their money in a payday loan company called privilege wealth plc. Privilege wealth plc have now claimed that due to fraud within the company that they essentially have no money left and need to liquidate the company. Where this leaves my parents money is anyone's guess. Their financial adviser is useless and has no answers to their questions. It seems helix are currently in a court case with privilege wealth to try and gain whatever assets there are left. Munio have dropped off the face of the earth, no website, emails getting pinged back to us, phone number not working. My parents are thinking now it's solicitor time and to possibly try and sue financial due to poor advice, he assured them this was a completely safe investment and nothing could go wrong and being green about these things they trusted him. Both these companies seem to be unregulated and i want to know does that make a difference. Please any advice is more than welcome as my poor parents are literally ready for a break down with worry !!!128577;
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Replies

  • MalthusianMalthusian Forumite
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    Both the Helix and Munio investments are almost certainly worthless.

    Which adviser was it, and are they FCA-regulated? If so, you can complain to them that ultra-high-risk unregulated investments were not suitable for your parents' risk profile. If they fail to make good their losses (which they almost certainly will), you can take your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service, who can award compensation of up to £150,000. If the adviser goes bust (which they almost certainly will), the Financial Services Compensation Scheme can award compensation of up to £50,000.

    However all of this assumes that the adviser they used was FCA-regulated.

    If the adviser was FCA-regulated, there is no need to waste money on a solicitor. The FOS and FSCS claims processes are, by design, very simple and do not need legal assistance.

    Your parents are on a suckers list and should be extremely wary of any cold calls they receive claiming they can get their money back.
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    On the advise of their financial adviser they invested their entire life savings into two separate sister companies: helix investment management and munio capital.

    Was this a real financial adviser or someone pretending to be?

    These are the sort of things put in place by cold calling scammers pretending to be something they are not usually. Have you checked the FCA register to see if it is a real adviser? If not, name the advice firm and we will check.

    How did your parents get into this investment? was it via a cold call?
    My parents are thinking now it's solicitor time and to possibly try and sue financial due to poor advice,

    No need to do that if it is a real financial adviser as there is a regulated complaints process.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • M.ElliottM.Elliott Forumite
    26 posts
    I will check if he is FCA regulated but he is a well known financial advisor in our town with his own office and worst thing he is a family friend. He was the one who advised that this was a sound investment and 100% assured them their money was safe and nothing could go wrong. This is sickening, thank you for reply.
  • M.ElliottM.Elliott Forumite
    26 posts
    Just checked he is on the FCA register. How can someone who is supposedly meant to know what they are doing get it so wrong? Munios brochure says that they are fscs immune?
  • MalthusianMalthusian Forumite
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    He was the one who advised that this was a sound investment and 100% assured them their money was safe and nothing could go wrong.
    If they wanted their money to be 100% safe they had no need of an adviser in the first place, and should have stuck with FSCS-protected deposit accounts. I realise this is of no help now.
    Just checked he is on the FCA register. How can someone who is supposedly meant to know what they are doing get it so wrong? Munios brochure says that they are fscs immune?
    "FSCS immune" doesn't make sense. Does it say they are FSCS protected (which would be a lie) or FSCS unprotected (which is true)?

    Any chance you could upload the PDF somewhere (e.g. scribd.com/upload-document)?
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  • M.ElliottM.Elliott Forumite
    26 posts
    Yes unfortunately they know that now but at the time they were oblivious and trusted him, it's a hard lesson. I am unable to upload anything as any physical trace of munio has been removed online however I have the paper copy in front of me and it says 'this investment falls outside the financial services compensation scheme '. What does that mean? So many questions and thanks in advance. I'm about to email the FOS now.
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    FOS are no use to you at this stage. Maybe later.

    If a regulated advice firm makes recommendations to use unregulated investments then you can complain about the advice given. So, that is the next stage. Make a formal complaint to the advice firm as to why the investments were not suitable.

    Remember that it suitability that matters. Not that they lost money. Recommendations to consumers need to be suitable. A high risk investor who is very experienced with investing may take some punts and lose the lot and that is fine. Whereas using such an investment with a low risk and/or inexperienced investor would be unsuitable.

    The firm will probably find a way to reject the complaint and that is when you refer it to the FOS (or if there is no outcome within 8 weeks).
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • M.ElliottM.Elliott Forumite
    26 posts
    Ok thank you , yes I see that advice on the FOS website. I would be more than happy to write a formal letter of compliant for them but they have made an appointment and want to do it through a solicitor as they think that will be better. Thank you again for advice. Hopefully there will be some sort of positive outcome in this mess.
  • dunstonhdunstonh Forumite
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    If a solicitor is used, it may prevent the free-of charge complaints process from being used as the FOS will not rule if legal action is underway.

    Plus, it will likely be harder through the courts.

    if the FOS cant do anything then the court option still exists. If court is used and fails, then the FOS will not be open to use.
    I am an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA). The comments I make are just my opinion and are for discussion purposes only. They are not financial advice and you should not treat them as such. If you feel an area discussed may be relevant to you, then please seek advice from an Independent Financial Adviser local to you.
  • MalthusianMalthusian Forumite
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    How much have they lost? FOS awards are only binding up to £150,000, so going via the courts instead may make sense if and only if:

    1) you have lost substantially more than £150,000

    2) the firm who gave the advice is a big company which won't simply go into liquidation when the award is made (which means you are back to FSCS protection of £50,000 per investor, only now you have to pay a big legal bill).

    If either is not the case then any reputable solicitor would tell them to go down the FOS route.
    I am unable to upload anything as any physical trace of munio has been removed online however I have the paper copy in front of me and it says 'this investment falls outside the financial services compensation scheme '.
    The investment is not covered but the advice is - if the adviser was FCA-regulated. If the advice was bad (which it is), and the adviser is ordered to pay redress by the FOS, but goes bust without paying, the FSCS will step in up to £50k per investor.

    You can photograph the paper copy with a smartphone or camera and upload it somewhere.
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