Financial frauds hurt all investors and pension savers. At a personal level, individuals can be tragically deprived of their life savings and condemned to an impoverished retirement. On a higher level, frauds damage investor confidence and increase the cost of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Neil Liversidge’s earliest scam-busting success was in the early 1980s when he rumbled an adviser defrauding life insurance companies of commission. Later in the 1980s, by asking the right questions, he stopped his then-employer from investing clients’ funds with Barlow Clowes, a Gibraltar-based Ponzi scheme whose boss Peter Clowes was living the high-life on his clients’ money. In 1995 Neil reported the ‘Alchemy’ Ponzi scheme to the DTI. The Guardian’s report on the Alchemy story can be found online here: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2000/jul/02/theobserver.observerbusiness5.
During his time at DBS from 1995 to 2002 Neil ‘blacklisted’ Imperial Consolidated and the Ostrich Farming Corporation (OFC), both of which were later revealed as massive frauds. He also detected a fraud on a trust fund set up by the estate of one of the twentieth century’s most famous authors, and a fraudulent scheme being run in the Fylde area by a firm calling itself Sylvan & Queens. In 2010 Neil alerted the regulator to a fraudulent scheme being promulgated in northern England, which falsely claimed to be backed by the US Federal Reserve. This resulted in the FCA closing down the firm in question, posting a warning on the FCA Register website which is still there to this day.
In 2015, here at West Riding, we set up a sting operation to catch some fraudsters who were impersonating a client of ours in an effort to steal her investments. This is Unbiased’s report on the sting we ran: https://www.unbiased.co.uk/news/your-front-line-of-defence-against-investment-fraud/5892. Read the full story here
The BBC reported on how we warned the FCA about LCF in 2015: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-47454328. The Guardian reported https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/mar/29/one-of-the-biggest-financial-scandals-around-fca-criticised-over-lcf
For us, combatting financial crime is not merely a matter of checking client identity documents. With the fraud pandemic we currently face, we are not content with a passive role but are going flat out to promote measures that actively attack financial criminals of all kinds. Our firm is the only Independent Financial Adviser firm to be a member of the Yorkshire & Humber Fraud Forum.