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Ex-Thinc bosses seek IFAs for unregulated investments service

by Rachael Revesz on Dec 06, 2012 at 00:01

Ex-Thinc bosses seek IFAs for unregulated investments service

Two former Thinc directors are targeting IFAs who will not survive the retail distribution review (RDR) to form a 100-strong franchise to promote unregulated investments.

Gregg Taylor (pictured) and Neil Harkin, who founded Thinc in 2000 before selling it to AXA in 2006, are now managing director and chairman respectively of product promoter What Partnership, which was launched in 2011. Through subsidiary What Investment, the firm offers a range of unregulated investments including green oil and property.

Taylor said the firm was looking to recruit 100 advisers to sell these investments and also wanted to tie-up with advisers who would survive the RDR, but who wanted to supplement their income.

What Partnership pays commission of around 6% on green oil investments and 10% on UK property investments. The products it provides do not fall under the regulator’s clampdown on unregulated collective investment schemes as they are not collectives.

Taylor said: ‘This is a great opportunity for advisers who want to continue to look after their clients but may have chosen the non-RDR route or those who can see an opportunity to build a new business based on a solid business franchise model.’

28 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Tim Page

Dec 05, 2012 at 11:26

"The products it provides do not fall under the regulator’s clampdown on unregulated collective investment schemes as they are not collectives."

Really?

I hope these guys have got plenty of cash to back that claim up. Because the FSA/FCA will be all over them in order to protect the RDR perimeter.

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Tim Page

Dec 05, 2012 at 11:34

They make think these "investments" fall outwith the uCIS definition, but I would be interested to know how they think these "investments" are not caught by the following definition of a Retail Investment Product (and therefore not caught by the RDR rules on adviser charging):

"g) any other designated investment which offers exposure to underlying financial assets, in a packaged form which modifies that exposure when compared with a direct holding in the financial asset."

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Duncan Carter 2

Dec 06, 2012 at 11:31

Tim, my sentiments are exactly as yours but having seen details of other similar 'investments', often they are not collectives but sales of shares, land, property etc in esoteric and exotic locations. This appears to be how the UCIS rules are circumvented.

The type of 'opportunities' I've seen include car parking in Dubai, hotel complexes in Cape Verde, and green oil production in Australia. The firms marketing them make a big deal about how they are approved by HMRC for SIPP and SSAS investment. They may well be but anyone who goes near them would be bonkers in my humble opinion!

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Julian Stevens

Dec 06, 2012 at 11:37

Two of the main points of attraction with Stirling Mortimer's proposition were that their schemes paid high commissions and weren't regulated.

Stay well away.

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Stuart Rathbone

Dec 06, 2012 at 12:03

Julian,

You missed one other point about the Sterling Mortimer proposition (or at least the one we had pitched at us) it was too good to be true and lost money ;-)

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l'ifa passeport en provenance de France

Dec 06, 2012 at 12:25

Stuart Rathbone

not for the directors!

anyway what partnership could put a bit of that life planning stuff in also not regulated

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Philip Wise

Dec 06, 2012 at 12:35

If any regulated adviser starts selling this rubbish, it would be a good idea for the rest of us to "pay them a visit".

I'm not keen on them leeching off me through the FSCS.

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Stuart Rathbone

Dec 06, 2012 at 12:43

@ The resident of Gaul

1. V true.

2. Sound like a plan, I’m sure the directors of what partnership will make out of the deal. I would have thought that by now most of us that are still around are familiar enough with alleged serial network creators, creating, sucking the life out of an enterprise or flogging it off the some dupe to stay will out of the way. It’s the naïve (for what ever reason) folks who join these enterprises build help build it at the coal face and then see it all go down the toilet I feel sorry for.

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Roydo

Dec 06, 2012 at 12:56

Have I read this correctly? They are setting up a franchise of unregulated salesmen selling unregulated products, or have I missed something here?

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phil castle via mobile

Dec 06, 2012 at 13:04

i agree with Phil Wise

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Duncan Carter 2

Dec 06, 2012 at 13:07

Not 'products' Roydo - opportunities, it's important to get the terminology right!

Or this was what one snake oil wallah told me when I previously commented on such a scam - sorry, my spelling's terrible!

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g taylor

Dec 06, 2012 at 13:14

May I point out that this headline and article are not reptresentitive of our business model at all. Please see the correctly reported press release in Financial Adviser or visit our website for details. Our proposition is based on Wills & Trusts (60% of UK population don't have one), pure protection and General Insurance (both regulated with "commission" being paid on the drip) - very RDR friendly. Yes we do have a small number of property based investments but this is a very small part of our business. They are "not regulated" becausue property is not regulated and neither is physical gold. All we are aiming to do is give the general public access to simple products and services rather than go to the Banks or via the internet in a post RDR world. Also give Advisers that for one reason or another cannot continue with their existing careers post Jan 1st a living and maybe save a few administrators jobs at the same time. Remember the days of the Pru, Pearl, Royal London etc where many IFA's started? I do and we had a population of people that had insurance and some form of savingsand retirement hopes unlike today. Oh and we also had Advisers that were proud of the industry that they were in, offered face to face service and were regularly referred.Is giving Jo average a service really such a bad thing? Is trying to put some fun and sense of pride back into the FS Industry also a bad thing?

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l'ifa passeport en provenance de France

Dec 06, 2012 at 13:17

This will save the saving gap for low funds of say 40k .... 4k commision ,one a day eh?

who said RDR would not look after the little people! Hector got it right , knighthood for the man me thinks

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Roydo

Dec 06, 2012 at 13:18

Haha! Sorry Duncan, of course, "opportunities!" For who though???

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Julian Stevens

Dec 06, 2012 at 13:28

A pastor went to the dentist for a set of false teeth.

The following Sunday his sermon was just eight minutes long.

The next Sunday his sermon was only ten minutes long.

But the Sunday after that his sermon went on and on for nearly three hours.

The congregation had to mob him to get him down from the pulpit and they asked him what happened.

The pastor explained that on the first Sunday his gums hurt so badly that he couldn't talk for more than eight minutes.

The second Sunday his gums were stuill hurting and he just couldn't talk for more than ten minutes.

But on the third Sunday, he put in his wife's teeth by mistake and found that he couldn't shut up...

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l'ifa passeport en provenance de France

Dec 06, 2012 at 13:32

get me a pint of what Julian's on please

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John Frink

Dec 06, 2012 at 13:41

Lol,

''so poor at your job you can't pass a level 4 qualification within 4 years? Still think you're 'helping' clients? Well then, come to us - we have all the fraudulant investments any sub-par ''adviser'' could want!

Good luck getting this nonsense by the FSA!

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Bob Donaldson

Dec 06, 2012 at 14:35

Surely let these guys get on with it. As they should only be selling to expert investors then it is the old caveat of buyer beware.

As they are not regulated then it will not fall upon the FSCS and the rest of us. Not all UCIS are bad and you can't always protect the public from themselves. Whilst I accept the comments above as long as they are not masquerading as financial advisors/planners under the guise of being regulated then it is up to them.

We should stop wrapping the public up in cotton wool. Perhaps if was not so easy for investors to complain they might think a bit more about what they do invest in. It has almost come to the stage where they have no responsiblity for the action they take. Bit like the benefits system, it will support them so why insure yourself!

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Andy via mobile

Dec 06, 2012 at 14:44

Mr Harkin used to be a Regional Manager in a Bancassurer I used to work in until he left around 10-11 years ago very suddenly.

I've always taken the view that if I wouldn't recommend something to someone I loved then I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else either.

This sort of scheme looks to be just the ticket for the likes of Mr Harkin and no I won't be applying

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Jonathan Kirby

Dec 06, 2012 at 15:06

@ Bob Donaldson

I would like to share your optimism that the FSCS won't be asked to cough up.

Somehow history would seem to show the opposite as even if the product is unregulated, if sold by a regulated person, then that is another matter entirely.

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Julian Stevens

Dec 06, 2012 at 15:21

The thing is ~ if the product isn't regulated but the advice is, then surely anyone providing advice on said product must be authorised? From that:-

1. if the individual providing the advice has to be regulated and

2. the product goes belly-up and

3. the individual or his firm is unable to meet his obligations to compensate the client for any losses incurred then

4. those liabilities may well fall to the FSCS, namely the rest of us.

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g taylor

Dec 06, 2012 at 16:11

I think people need to go onto the What Partnership website to understand the proposition. It is mainly Wills & Trusts, Family Protection, GI (both regulated / advised) and then a small portfolio of property based investments, not UCIS, all offered on an information only basis, just like fine wine, classic cars, art etc - even a house come to think of it that are not regulated by the FSA . Tangible assets that do not carry high charges and the so called expertise of a fund manager and that many retail clients are happy to diversify into

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l'ifa passeport en provenance de France

Dec 06, 2012 at 16:35

You tell the g taylor ! no dam fund managers fee's in fine wine eh? wooo might even open a bottle of red this evening

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Duncan Carter 2

Dec 06, 2012 at 16:44

........or agents fees, sales commissions, agents fees etc

All nicely informed on but no responsibility of advice - until some schmuck who is regulated gets involved!

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Phil Castle

Dec 06, 2012 at 16:54

I agree with Duncan and Julian. i would also go as far as to say that if a firm is not authorised as an investment firm, but IS as a GI and mortgage firm, reccomending these things could result in and problems falling on the FSCS levy unless the firm providing the "non investment advice" is seperate from the firm providing GI and mortgage products.

Added to that, Tim Page looks to have hit the nail on the head anyway;

are these caught by the following definition of a Retail Investment Product (and therefore caught by the RDR rules on adviser charging):

"g) any other designated investment which offers exposure to underlying financial assets, in a packaged form which modifies that exposure when compared with a direct holding in the financial asset."

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Bob Donaldson

Dec 06, 2012 at 16:58

I come back to it we are not the regulator they are openly broadcasting here what they are doing for all to see. Let them get on with it. Our job is to deal with clients not regulate the market.

Sometimes you guys get so wound up you are like coiled springs. Let you go and you could reach the moon!

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g taylor

Dec 06, 2012 at 18:13

Thanks Bob and yes let us get on with it or better still work with us. Do people not think we have taken regulatory and legal counsel on what we are doing? Do you not think we understand CP12/19 or the implcations of Brown versus Innovator One? Everyones focus here appears to be on the headline "unregulated investments" and all the commentry is about UCIS, scams etc not our overall proposition which caters for many IFA's B&C clients who they cannot afford to provide a service to for simple transactions under RDR

To answer Phil Castles point - The defination of a Non Regulated Investment is it must be immovable property, it must be held by an individual and be genuinely capable of being bought, managed and sold as a discrete, independent unit. With the exception of some forms of fractional ownership. We comply with all of this and like to think that our due diligence process is as good as anything in the market. All this information is readily available to both Advisers and clients

I am not sure why we are being lambasted on this as surely you would rather have clients who want to diversify a percentage of their portfolio to have access to these products rather than purchase Carbon Credits, Caribbean land, Ukranian Farmland or rare metals over the phone from some boiler room operation which is what is happening. I know because I get the calls and e mails daily.

I obviously will not win the argument with the majority of people on this particular blog but there are a lot of people out there who are embracing what we are doing.

We are being extremely open and transparent in what we are doing, I am not trying to hide behind a false name on this site (like others). My contact no is 07932 073477 so call me or meet me but please stop making assumptions when you have no real understanding our business.

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mike f

Jan 26, 2013 at 20:14

I think it absolutely vital that all proper thinking ethical if as continue to hunt down and condemn these investments from hell and continue to advise their clients into the proper high charging low yielding investment offered by traditional fund managers and insurance companies to ensure their clients are never burdened by the inconvenience of wealth ...... Blinkered ifas god love u all

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