A massive £21 million pension liberation scam has finally ended with six pensions companies forced to shut by the courts.
Fast Pensions and five associated companies left a trail of financial disaster for savers who trusted the firms with their money only to have their hopes of their golden years left in tatters.
The firms were investigated by the government’s Insolvency Service after a flood of complaints.
The task force assigned to the case found that advisers had recommended Fast Pensions after bombarding thousands of people with cold telephone calls questioning the investment performance of their existing pension funds and offering free pension reviews.
Hard-up retirement savers were told they could borrow against their pensions if they moved their funds to Fast Pensions.
But their savings were abused – with £4 million paid out in commissions to advisers who had missold the schemes by lying about investments and future benefits. The rest of the money was loaned to other companies connected to Fast Pensions.
The accounting mess means the Insolvency Service has had little hope in recovering the money or putting a final figure of the amount involved in the scam.
The six companies failed to preserve, maintain or produce adequate accounting records and failed to cooperate fully with the investigation, the High Court in London was told.
David Hope, Chief Investigator for the Insolvency Service said: “People work long and hard to put money away for their retirements but the six companies that have been shut down paid scant regard to their members. They used unsavoury tactics to attract members and failed to paint the full picture as to what would really happen with their savings.
“By shutting the companies down, the courts have put a stop to their unscrupulous activities and we hope this sends a strong message that we will robustly investigate and take action where people’s funds and savings are at risk.”
The High Court has ordered Fast Pensions Ltd into compulsory liquidation in the public interest, along with connected companies FP Schemes Trustees Ltd, Blu Debt Management Ltd, Blu Financial Services Ltd, Blu Personal Finance Ltd and Umbrella Loans Ltd.
The High Court placed 15 pension schemes run by the companies into the hands of the Official Receiver.