Nicolas and Elisabeth Rogers
Tony Brown - Chief Minister of the Isle of Man
Isle of Man - IM1 1LE 3rd January 2007
Dear Mr. Brown
The Isle of Man Government and the Premier Low Risk Fund (PLRF)
Later this month we will launch the website isleman-notpremier.co.uk. to reveal how the Isle of Man government allow the PLRF to ignore Isle of Man law and obtain/retain retired people’s savings by a variety of deceptions including: -
1. Failing to ensure that the PLRF product is sold appropriately and in accordance with the law. Under Spanish law it is illegal for the PLRF to offer the PLRF product for sale in Spain, either to so-called “intermediaries” - or to the general public via so-called “intermediaries”.
The Isle of Man is not a part of the EU for the purpose of permitted sale of financial products - further compounding the illegality of the activities of the Island based PLRF product provider.
2. Failing to ensure that due diligence information/references were obtained before the PLRF entered into ToBs with so-called “intermediaries” – a failure which resulted in the PLRF rewarding unqualified, unregulated and uninsured parties for assisting in the sale of the product.
3. Failing to ensure that promotional or advertising documents issued by the PLRF are in accordance with the standards set out in the Advertising Regulatory Code which demands that advertising must not be misleading – and that all risk warnings are adequately disclosed.
These failures include the PLRF directors advertising their product as offering “Capital Security and Growth” & “Capital Guarantees which cannot be reduced or taken away”,
and not adequately disclosing, or making proper warning about, the existence of MVAs.
4. Claiming that so-called intermediaries with access to PLRF product were “professionals” qualified to recommend the PLRF product “after considering individual’s circumstances”.
The ”intermediary” assisting the PLRF in the sale of their product was an unqualified phony.
5. Failing to provide the PLRF share purchase contracts written in the Spanish language, as required by Spanish law, thereby rendering the contracts unenforceable, void and illegal.
6. These failings have resulted in “inexperienced” investors becoming, and remaining, shareholders in the PLRF “experienced investor” product. It is against Isle of Man regulations and the PLRF Articles of Association for “inexperienced investors” to be PLRF shareholders.
Mrs. G. Walker of the Office of Fair Trading Ombudsman Scheme gave our complaints the run-around for two years. When Mrs. Walker finally gave reasons to justify the PLRF receiving the proceeds of deception they were inevitably shrouded in obfuscation… and following a variety of excuses and evasions (which complaints such as ours tend to produce) a picture emerges which raises fundamental questions about the Isle of Man government’s inclination, and/or ability, to effectively control financial product providers based on the Island.
Eventually a Mr. Ken Kinrade of the OFT dismissed our complaint under Section 21(A)(b) of the Financial Supervision Act 1988 - this on the grounds that the OFT is prohibited from considering complaints about any so-called “intermediaries” unless (ironically) they are based on the Island.
He also rules that it was not the PLRF director’s honeyed words that influenced our decision to transfer money to the PLRF – and instead Mr.Kinrade takes the view that it was solely the representations of the “intermediary” that are responsible for our PLRF product purchase.
Mr. Kinrade conveniently overlooks all of the PLRF´s legal obligations as defined by the Isle of Man government – including the fact that the PLRF Scheme Particulars are recognized by the Isle of Man government as a “form of advertising, the basis on which an investor (the public including us!) make a decision to invest in the PLRF product”. (See OFT letter 18th Oct 2006).
To safeguard PLRF shareholder’s interests, the Island based PLRF auditors, Deloitte & Touche, are also bound by various regulations including the APB Ethical Standard Codes of Practice.
Similar Codes of Practice apply to the PLRF Custodian, RBSI Trustee Services Ltd.
Both companies are aware of the specifics of the PLRF´s activities, yet both have failed to make this information known to other PLRF shareholders - thus allowing the PLRF to continue to obtain the lifetime savings of pensioners by publishing misleading claims – and continue to reward phony ”intermediaries” for their assistance in duplicating/repeating these claims.
Attached is a copy of an email detailing Isle of Man regulations as produced by staff working for the Isle of Man Financial Supervision Commission - Ms. Julia Rounce: Secretary Authorisations & Supervision Division - and Ms. Hazel Gawne: Senior Manager Collective Investment Schemes.
This email clearly defines some of the legal responsibilities beholden to the PLRF – although the Isle of Man government appears to have given the PLRF immunity!
The OFT attaches the entire blame for this deception on the phony, so-called “professional intermediaries” employed by the PLRF to assist in procuring retired people’s savings.
The OFT refuse to consider the possibility that these “intermediaries” are also being deceived by the PLRF and that this in turn causes them to unwittingly mislead the public by compounding and replicating the PLRF´s own misleading claims.
The FSC shuffled our complaint between six different people (J. Aspden – M. Weldon – H. Gawne – S. Woolard – S. Kelly – J. Rounce) and eventually took a similar position to that of the OFT.
This government department appears to ignore Isle of Man regulations and exhibits no intention of enforcing them.
The website isleman-notpremier.co.uk will publish copies of the contradictory statements issued by various Isle of Man government departments – together with extracts from the APB Ethical Standards Code (Integrity, Objectivity and Independence), the PLRF Scheme Particulars, the PLRF Articles of Association and various Isle of Man government Codes of Practice.
After your appointment to the position of Chief Minister of the Isle of Man government you said: -
“I am committed to continuing the Island’s success story of the past two decades and to maintaining an environment where business and individuals can flourish.
The task ahead is to build on the Isle of Man’s reputation as a competitive but responsible international business center, and to keep growing our economy for the benefit of all of the people of the Island.”
If the “Island’s success story” is based on the business practices we have witnessed then some of this success may be credited to a breakdown in enforcing regulations.
Similarly if “maintaining an environment where business and individuals can flourish” involves a disregard for regulations then this “flourish” is gained at the expense of the law.
You claim, “The task ahead is to build on the Isle of Man’s reputation as a competitive but responsible international business center”. If the Island’s claim to be “competitive” is achieved at the expense of responsible regulation (or simply by cheating) then any reputation founded on contrived competitiveness will eventually disintegrate.
“To keep growing our economy for the benefit of all of the people of the Island” may be a worthy and altruistic goal – but not if “all of the people of the Island” benefit at the expense of the world community.
We invested our lifetime savings in the Isle if Man in the positive belief that the advertising and promotion of all Island based products would be responsible and legal. In the event it was neither.
By not applying the laws governing the management and marketing of the PLRF product we believe that the Isle of Man government has failed us – and as investors we have not received the appropriate protection accorded to us by Manx law.
The “spin” issuing from the Chief Secretary’s Press Release Office appears to be little more than manipulated media coverage. In the long term this will neither benefit the reputation of the Island - nor the people of the Island.
After almost three years of fruitless complaining we have decided to bring this matter to the attention of a wider audience –and the website isleman-notpremier.co.uk will form part of a programme that will ensure that the general public are fully informed/warned in this matter.
Nicolas Rogers –
0034 950 39 20 38
Attached: copy of memo produced by the FSC detailing the PLRF´s regulatory responsibilities.