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Hansards

Correspondence between David Klein and Hansards
Hansards 26 March 03


Gordon Marr 
  
  Dear Gordon
If I can give you the background to June and Percy Griffin case,
Mr Percy Griffin - DOB: 20/9/25, Mrs June Griffin - DOB: 3/6/34

Edificio Orfeo Azul, Apt 510, Ctra de Cadiz KM222, 29630 Benalmadena Costa, Malaga, Spain

June and Griff were advised to sell a property they owned which provided rental income, with the promise that they could invest the money and receive a 10% per annum income, without their capital being affected.  Obviously a great deal if you can get it!

The money realised from the property was 8,500,000pta and the whole lot was invested with Hansard, upon Kevin Whites advice, on the 19th June 1996.  The policy number is 52990T.

The investment is a Hansard Capital Builder and the money was invested in one fund - the LABROW International Peseta High Yield Fund.  I believe this fund was closed and Kevin White recommended the funds be transferred to others.  The investment is now split between the HIL Fidelity Iberia Fund, the HIL European Growth Fund and the HIL European Managed Fund.

I have analysed these three funds and am shocked that someone of Griff's age (72 when he was advised to invest) was recommended stockmarket linked investments.  They are fairly high risk, bearing in mind the additional currency risk.  A property with rental income would have been much safer for them as they would still have their capital.

As with most offshore investments, the charges are huge.  In fact, I will go as far as saying that I have never seen an investment with charges this high.  Basically, Kevin's promise of 10% per annum with capital untouched was never going to be achievable.  Even if the investment makes 10% growth the charges would knock it down.  This means that to get a 10% return with capital untouched would require growth EVERY year of between 13% - 15%.  This was not being achieved when the investment was recommended and has never been achieved since.  Empty promises for the prospect of commission, in my opinion.

June and Griff took an income of 212,500pta from October 1996 and it was paid quarterly.  Kevin White advised them to reduce their income in 1999 but they were still unaware that the income they were taking was actually their capital.  June 2002 was the last income payment (then in Euro).  Despite June and Griff asking Kevin White for advice and whether they should move their money because of the losses he said no.  He said that they should leave it where it was.  This happened on numerous occasions.

Today, the value of June and Griff's investment is 15,554.81 and is falling by the day, due to the performance of the stock markets.

June and Griff maintain that they were never told the downside risk and that they believed their capital to be safe.  the investment  was valued in February 2002 ( 17,094.68) they were so upset that they have has fallen from around £43,000 to around £10,000 (today).

This is all the money they have for their retirement and have already had to stop taking income, thereby severely cutting their standard of living.  This means that they now live on the UK Basic State Pension alone and if anything happened to Griff, June would be in serious trouble.  The fact that the risk of the investment and the effect of charges was never explained is bad enough but, the fact that Kevin has repeatedly told them to leave their money in the same funds is appalling.  The fact he put them in the investment in the first place, I believe, was negligent and mis sold.

I hope this gives you enough to go on.  I am sorry for waffling on but I feel so strongly about people being mis sold.  When an adviser makes recommendations for retirement capital one must in my opinion always have to bear in mind that if there are losses, there is not much time to make up the losses and the fact that people will rely on the capital for income.  You cannot mess about with capital where there is no chance for future earnings and income coming from elsewhere.
As stated this guy is unregistered and works from a mobil phone and goes around the pension clubs to canvas business. No address, works with a post office mail box, No compliance, no indemnity. True case of mis selling and a lack of duty of care. This is a Hansard agent.

Kind Regards

David


I have coped this to Kevin White, who simply shrugs his shoulders.

_____________________________________________________________

From: Paul Smart <paul.smart@hansard.com>
Subject: Kevin White/June & Percy Griffin 52990T
To: david@thedogman.net
Cc: Prepend HIL <prepend-hil@hansard.com>

Dear David,

Gordon has asked me to reply to your e-mail dated 26 March
The substance of your complaint is the advice given by Kevin White. As you will
know from previous correspondence with us, Hansard accept business from intermediaries on
the basis that, at all times, the introducer acts as the agent of the client, not as the
agent of Hansard. If the clients ae not satisfied with the advice given this is a matter
they must address to their advisor.

We would make the observation that the funds in which the clients are invested are not
regarded as "fairly high risk". Two of the funds are rated as "Moderate degree of risk",
and one of the funds (European Managed) is classed as "least investment risk". The
European Managed Fund currently has 39% of the total value.

We will ask Kevin White to give Mr and Mrs Griffin a proper response to their complaint.

Regards Paul
______________________________________________________________________________
To: Paul Smart <paul.smart@hansard.com>, david@thedogman.net
From: David the Dogman <david@thedogman.net>
Subject: Re: Kevin White/June & Percy Griffin 52990T
Cc: Prepend HIL <prepend-hil@hansard.com>, IPA Isle of Man

Hansards

Dear Paul

Whilst the advice of Kevin White was totally inappropriate for the clients, this is not the only reason for complaint.  The fact that KW is allowed to go round to these clubs advising people on Hansard products, because they gave him an agency, is a lot more serious.
 
Hansards have a duty of care to ensure they accept business from competent intermediaries.  They have a duty to investigate the person/company before they accept business from .  I understand from June Gtriffin that KW worked for a larger intermediary before setting up on his own.  My bet is that because you  knew of him already no checks were made and as a result he is allowed to continue acting without any responsibility or is answerable to any being.
 
Basically what Hansards are doing is to advocate their products being sold by poor advisers with  no ethics.  people like Kevin White will sell whatever they can to earn the commission paid by Hansards, knowing that there can never be any comeback because they are not registered to trade or under the supervision of any regulatory authority.
 
Your email covers the levels of risk for Hansard's funds.  You are obviously not an adviser.  Risk is a very personal thing and whilst Hansard's will provide their own view of risk, it is up to the adviser to explain that degree of risk in the client's own circumstances. 
 
Your client June & Griff are retired.  ALL of their money is tied up with Hansard's and the only other money they will EVER get is their State pension paid from the UK.  If I invested in these funds, Hansard's would class them at the same risk level than if June & Griff invested.  Quite clearly these funds (however they are risk rated by Hansard) pose different levels of risk to different types of people.  I could probably afford to make some losses on the fund.  June & Griff could not.  Most insurance companies issue caveats to say their risk ratings are only to be used as a guide and that investors must be aware and happy with the actual levels of risk.
 
The fact that 39% of the money is invested in the European Managed Fund is rubbish.  This means that 61% of it is invested, in my unprofessional opinion, in higher risk funds.  Very nice for an old couple with nothing else left!  When June & Griff started raising questions with KW regarding the value of their investments, the least he could have done is researched lower risk funds (even cash) and helped them move.  But, one problem, no commission available on fund switches!!!  Hansard offer many protected value funds and deposit funds.  There is absolutely no reason for them to be in higher risk funds.
 
KW really is the one at fault here because he did not ensure (or even cover his back) that June & Griff were aware of and understood the risks involved.  Hansard's have a big part to play though because you gave him an agency and allowed him to place business through you.  I

Paul what do Hansards know about KW or what checks were carried out by due diligence  to ensure he was a suitable introducer of business.
 
Hansard's seem to be closing their files on this one by saying they will ask KW to give a proper response to June & Griff.  The only problem is that KW does not have to!  He is under no obligation or regulation to do this and we all know that he will just shrug his shoulders and do nothing. 

KW is now informing other investors that he no longer deals with your company.
 
I am aware of another couple KW  he spoke to about investing wanted to take 10% income without their capital being eroded.  KW response was that 10% was too high but 7% would be ok!  I have no idea which planet this guy is living on. 
 
In summary, it would seem that Kevin is still doing the same thing with other people - even in the same club after they have been warned. I will be going back in a few days to warn them again.
 
Fundamentally, Hansard's have to share the responsibility of allowing an unauthorised adviser to sell their products.  This is the reason these clients are now in extreme financial difficulty which cannot be ignored or just put down to poor advice.  The advice process is only one part of the problem. 
Kind regards.
 
David
_________________________________________________________________________________
To: Paul Smart <paul.smart@hansard.com>, david@thedogman.net
From: David the Dogman <david@thedogman.net>
Subject: Re: Kevin White/June & Percy Griffin 52990T
Cc: Prepend HIL <prepend ...snip... Fernadez,Mercado de Valores

Hansards
Paul Smart Compliance

Dear Paul
Do you have any further comments re  the family Griffin.
Keep in mind that White is a cowboy operating from a mobile and PO Box Number. He has no offices and operates around clubs and bars.  White has no qualifications, indemnity, compliance and is not registered. This does not say much for your due diligent enquiries, in fact I would challenge the 'Enquiry'
White is, to put it bluntly an arsole,  I am copying this email to him in the hope that he will take some action against me.
Is White still acting for you, if not why not?
I would have thought that by now you would have instructed your sales department not to take business from Southern Spain, this type of cheap unprofessional, unqualified people representing Hansards cannot in the long run do your organisation any good, especially in this day and age.
I am now looking for a settlement for these poor folk, a refund since the sale must be deemed non and void, plus the going rate of 1.6%.
I now look forward to your comments.
Regards
David
____________________________________________________________________________________
From: Paul Smart <paul.smart@hansard.com>
Subject: Re: Kevin White/June & Percy Griffin 52990T
To: David the Dogman <david@thedogman.net>
Cc: Prepend HIL <prepend-hil@hansard.com>

David,

As we have explained before, Mr White does not act for, or represent, Hansard. In this
case he was the agent for, and acted for, Mr and Mrs Griffin. Our product litereature
includes, under "Important Notes", that products are available from intermediaries

"...on the basis that the intermediary is, in all respects, acting on behalf of the
client"

No applications are accepted without confirmation from the applicants that they have read
and understood the product brochure. The brochure is clear that unit prices can fall as
well as rise.
Hansard International's obligation was to arrange and administer the Capital Builder in
accordance with Mr and Mrs Griffin's written instructions and this has been done properly.

Regards

Paul 
__________________________________________________________________________________
To: Paul Smart <paul.smart@hansard ...snip... Dogman <david@thedogman.net>
From: David the Dogman <david@thedogman.net>
Subject: Re: Kevin White/June & Percy Griffin 52990T
Cc: Prepend HIL <prepend ...snip... Woods::Jersey FSC Gail Heston

Hansards
Paul Smart
Compliance
30/4/03

Paul
You suggest in your reply that Hansards has no intermediary arrangement with Kevin White Allied International You also indicate that there is no agreement in place between the two companies and that there is no commercial relationship.

However, you must have paid commission to KW as a result of them introducing investment business to you.  You have clearly provided an introductory arrangement for such business and the introduction of business by providing KW with the necessary material, information and services for him to be capable of introducing investment business to you and, as a result, you effected a “commercial transaction” (in the generally accepted sense of the expression) by paying him introductory commission. 

I appreciate that under the (rather quirky!) UK law of agency KW is the agent of the Griffins in relation to this matter.  The same law of agency is not relevant in Spain. 

It is however, in accordance with good business practice, an obligation upon you to ensure that due diligence is carried out in respect of any business introduced to you by somebody who is paid for that purpose.  In effect you must ensure that any introducer is acting in good faith in accordance with the law.  KW is unlawful, unregistered, no offices, not even a land line phone, living in a rented room and is simply an arsole going around bars

The family Griffin are residents of Spain, and as such, KW acted as an intermediary in relation to the investment advice he provided which is a regulated activity in Spain.  KW is, as you are well aware, not regulated in the conduct of investment business in Spain and regularly intermediates on behalf of his clients, as he did with the Griffins.

You have a duty of care when receiving introductions of new business to ensure that this business is being carried out by your appointed introducer or you are collaborating in encouraging breaches of Spanish regulatory provisions in relation to investment inter mediation.  Such activity is required to be regulated by the CNMV.

You are also under no obligation to accept business which you do not believe has been sold in accordance with the sovereign laws and regulatory provisions of the territory in which the investment advice and inter mediation was provided.

Can you confirm whether you are still accepting business from KW, or not?

By not ensuring that your introducer carried out his responsibilities in accordance with the requirements of Spanish regulatory provisions you have, knowingly or otherwise, enabled the mis-selling of investments provided by Hansards Funds by an unregulated adviser. 

As such, I consider that you are, at least, partially responsible for the inappropriate advice and inter mediation that took place in connection with the investment recommended to me by KW.

There is no doubt that your collaboration with KW in breaching the Spanish regulatory provisions will be further investigated by the lawyers who are currently acting on behalf of a number of families who have been mis-sold investments by KW. 

The purpose of my complaint is to achieve financial settlement in relation to the investments that were mis-sold to this family.  If you are not prepared to recognise your responsibility and offer compensation in respect of your part in enabling KW, an unregulated business, to sell investment illegally then you are likely to come under increasing scrutiny during the course of the actions which are now taking place to ensure that such flagrant breaches of the national regulatory provisions of Spain cannot be continued with impunity. 

 I  further ask you to consider this case on the basis of 'What would I do if  these were my old parents?' I am informed that the Griffins have started to make enquiries with the UK authorities with a possible view of moving back to the UK due to the hardship they have been caused and as old people they do not feel they can survive here much longer. Mrs Griffins is suffering severe stress, keep in mind they are ordinary working class people that have only worked hard and saved all their lives.

I would appreciate your renewed consideration of compensation in this case for the reasons given above.

Kind regards
David
_______________________________________________________________________________________
To: Henry Woods::Hansard Paul Smart
From: David the Dogman <david@thedogman.net>
Subject: Fwd: Re: keep the folk informed
Cc:

Paul Smart
Compliance Officer
 Hansards

Paul
I have now obtained your terms of business and it is evident from these that you have not complied with your own terms, I refer you to applicants.
I look forward to your comments.
Regards
David
__________________________________________________________________________________________
To: Paul Smart <paul.smart@hansard ...snip... Dogman <david@thedogman.net>
From: David the Dogman <david@thedogman.net>
Subject: Diligent Enquiries
Cc:

Hansards
Paul Smart

Dear Paul
I am referring to the questions you ask potential agents when you do your due diligent enquiries!
You want to know where they are registered
You want to know about their background, where they work etc
Bankers etc
With all these questions and diligent enquiry you give an agency and the name of Hansards to a 'Bum' who has no office, no land line and works the bars and clubs.
If people like you really did carry out due diligent enquiry, then these aresole's could not con and cheat pensioners.
Regards
David
_________________________________________________________________________________________________
Date: Tue, 13 May 2003 16:04:36 +0100
From: Paul Smart <paul.smart@hansard.com>
Subject: Griffin 52990T
To: David the Dogman <david@thedogman.net>
Cc: Prepend HIL prepend-hil@hansard.com
Organization: Hansard International Limited
 

David, I confirm we will not be taking any action in the case of Mr and Mrs Griffin. Kevin
White has denied suggesting the clients should sell a rental property in order to provide
money to invest with Hansard International, and also denies promising that the income,
capital or rate was guaranteed. If the Griffins believe they have been badly advised they
must pursue their complaint with Kevin White.

We would point out that Mr and Mrs Griffin's letter dated 7 April 2003 could be
misunderstood regarding their loss. They state that "the only money we have has fallen
from around UKS 43,000 to around UKS 10,000".
Using an exchange rate of 1 Euro = PTA 166.386 the original investment was EUR 51,086.03.
Withdrawals have been made which total EUR 26,436.42, leaving a net investment of EUR
24,646.91. The value today is EUR 17,560.08. The loss at today's prices is therefore EUR
7,086.83.

Paul Smart
 _______________________________________________________________
To: Hansard Paul Smart
From: David the Dogman <david@thedogman.net>
Subject: Hansards Due Diligent Enquiries.
Cc: IPA Isle of Man,david.vick@ipa.gov.im


Hansards
Isle of Man
Paul Smart

Dear Paul
 
You state that your terms of business say that duty of advice is with the adviser which is standard in the market and Hansards accept no responsibility for advice or material disclosure by the adviser with the client.  You also state that all risks are detailed in your  literature so this is not your problem and if clients have products where they do not understand the risks - clients should read literature.

Now why on earth don't you shout about this in your advertisements, and let the public know exactly where your coming from?
 
1) When was the terms of business with the adviser established - exactly - what date? Prove it!
2) What reference checks were made to ensure that the adviser was fit and proper e.g. if another provider reference who previously offered terms to the adviser was obtained and deemed acceptable as proof of the adviser being fit and proper.  Prove it!
3) Given that advisers in Spain were not regulated and alarm bells should ring with providers,  what continuing checks were made on an ongoing basis to ensure that the adviser was and is still fit and proper - did they write for reference every six months or so?  Prove it!  Did they take references from alternatives instead of relying on the same original providers references?  Prove it!
4) If  Hansards were prepared to accept that another insurance company's reference was acceptable - what checks did Hansards make that the referees procedures for vetting an adviser application and offering terms were also acceptable.  Prove it!  If this is not the case - then my view is that you have a merry go round of a number of providers all offering each other and accepting references with all procedures being fundamentally flawed and therefore they should all share responsibility.
5) What qualifications checks were made on the adviser - if there is no regulation in Spain - then surely other checks should be made such as qualifications, past experience, financial probity (i.e is the person solvent),  professional indemnity insurance cover or other arbitration scheme.  Prove it!
6) Why, when there is clearly a question of whether someone is regulated, were not statements and literature issued directly to clients and not via the intermediary.
7) Please  provide exact copies of the original literature that was issued to the clients and to prove that the clients did actually see this literature.  Given the question of lack of investor protection - Hansards  have a duty of care to be happy that clients understand the risks and that they have seen all literature before accepting the monies?  Prove it.
 
You have always claimed  "This is not our problem - client should read literature" and the adviser is deemed continually acceptable to Hansards to hold terms of business - then prove it.  Just having an agency application where the adviser says yes I am "competent" and yes I will tell you if circumstances change is, in my opinion, provider negligence and not in the best interests of the financial services industry or the investor.
 
If these cannot be proven then I believe there may be a case for provider negligence via the ombudsmen and/or lawyers.
 
It is evident that Hansards are not taking due care with whom they offer a terms of business to and not continually vetting the appointment and then clients such as June and Griff would not then be advised by somebody who clearly is not authorised, potentially not qualified to offer advice with no investor protection when the advice is questioned and no way to seek re-dress.
I now await your comments.

Regards
David Klein
____________________________________________________________________________________
To: Paul Smart <Paul.Smart@hil.hftrust.com>
From: David the Dogman <david@thedogman.net>
Subject: : Griffin 52990T
Cc:



Paul Smart
Compliance Officer
Hansards International

Paul

You have failed to reply to my emails.
You are the one that wanted me to communicate all in writing.

 You have still failed to answer the questions raised in my emails.  These are not in respect of the complaint, they are in respect of your duty of care and due diligence obligations, letting Kevin White trade with your products.  Please let me have your reply by return before I approach the regulator officially for assistance.  For simplicity, the questions raised are as follows:
 
1.    Which Labrow company submitted the Griffin's business?
2.    When was the servicing agency changed from Labrow?  Was it to Allied International or Kevin White?
3.    Do you still have a terms of business in place with Kevin White or Allied International?  If not, who is the new       servicing agent on the policy?
4.    Have you had any complaints regarding Allied International or Kevin White?  Have you ever investigated under misrepresentation or found any evidence of it?
5.    What about references for Kevin White in terms of bank and credit references?
6.    Did you ever monitor the business submitted by Kevin White?  Did any trends arise from those checks?
7.    Do you do ongoing checks on Kevin White and Allied International?
8.    Do you review the conduct of advisers?  Do you check with clients that they are happy with the adviser and the products he sold them?
9.    If you do not check qualifications then how can you use your own opinion of the conduct of the introducer and quality of business being received?  How can you allow them to sell your products if you don't know anything about them?
10.    Do you actually know anything about Kevin White or Allied International?  Do you agree that no checks were done and you just allowed him to introduce business on face value?
 
In terms of your reply about Kevin White denying suggesting the clients should sell a property to invest with Hansard, please provide me with a copy of this confirmation from White.  Would you also please forward a copy of his denial regarding income and capital guarantees.  We will then approach him directly.  I would confirm that the clients still hold you liable in terms of due diligence for letting this person trade illegally.  Also, if White was an employee or appointed rep of Labrow at the time, complaining to White would do no good as it was under Labrow's wing that he advised them.  This is why we need to know when the advice was given and who White was working for at the time.  If it was Allied International then we will approach White.  If it was Labrow then we will approach Labrow.
 
Your comments regarding losses are completely wide of the mark.  Despite Kevin White denying he told the clients their capital would be safe, they recall otherwise.  This means that the income payments they have taken is completely irrelevant.
  They were told their capital would stay at the same amount whilst they were receiving income.  On the basis of your figures the loss is therefore EUR 33,525.95 - somewhat different to your EUR 7,086.83.  Are you prepared to pay the loss to settle this matter once and for all?
Regards
David Klein
-_________________________________________________________________________
 
From: Paul Smart <paul.smart@hansard.com>
Subject: Re: : Griffin 52990T
To: David the Dogman <david@thedogman.net>
Cc: Prepend HIL <prepend-hil@hansard.com>

David, I answered these questions on 21 August. Here is my answer again.

21 Aug 2003 15:41:11 +0100 (BST)
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2003 15:41:09 +0100
From: Paul Smart <paul.smart@hansard.com>
...snip...
In reply to your other queries about Kevin White we can only say that we were
satisfied with the quality of the business submitted.
Regards
Paul


Regards Paul

© COSTA DEL SOL ACTION GROUP
Against Unlicenced Financial Advisers & Product Providers that support them.