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Insurance broker banned for seven years for pension scheme negligence

An insurance broker has been banned from company directorships after failing to keep adequate records, not providing information to the tax authorities and not providing members of a pension scheme with up to date information, such as personal statements.

Ivor Jenkins, the sole appointed director of Optimum Financial Solutions Limited, traded as an insurance agent and administered a pension scheme known as the Optimum Retirement Benefits Plan (the Plan).

The Plan is the subject of a fraud investigation by the police and an investigation by the Pensions Regulator. A report by the Pensions Regulator states that, from 2015, a total of £13.4 million was transferred in to the Plan from the pension schemes of 288 people. In some cases members were cold-called to persuade them to transfer. Introducers were paid tens of thousands of pounds in fees and Mr Jenkins was also given financial incentives.

After making a transfer, members received loans of as much as 75% of their funds from companies linked to a trustee of the Plan. This behaviour has the hallmarks of “pension liberation” fraud. The remaining funds not paid out as loans to members were then invested in high-risk, illiquid investments including gem-mining and olive oil processing.

This ban follows an Insolvency Service investigation in 2016 which resulted in Optimum Financial Solutions being wound up in court in February 2018.

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Gavin Ellison