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Illegal pensions introducers ordered to pay £10.7m to SIPP clients

Written by: Emma Lunn
The High Court has ordered two unregulated introducers and three individuals to pay the money to clients who were induced to transfer their pensions into self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs).

The case was brought by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the order was made on Friday 7 August 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
  • Made false or misleading statements

The court also found that the Lummises and Fox were knowingly involved in Avacade’s and AA’s breaches.

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

It decided that Avacade should pay £10m, AA £715,000, Craig Lummis £2.5m, Lee Lummis £2.5m, and Raymond Fox £1.7m.

Additionally, AA, the Lummises and 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”.

Subject to any appeals against the judgment, the FCA will take steps to recover the money from the defendants, so that it can return the cash to the investors.

Any Avacade or AA customers who believes they may have lost money and have not previously been contacted by the FCA about this matter, should contact the FCA to provide their details.

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