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Towry's Fisher named in Times tax investigation

by Daniel Grote on Jun 22, 2012 at 07:50

Towry's Fisher named in Times tax investigation

Towry chief executive Andrew Fisher has said he regrets investing in a film scheme after it emerged it was under inquiry by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Fisher (pictured) is among a number of investors named in analysis of the members of 94 film and music schemes conducted by The Times. The paper said he was one of 12 people who invested £56.9 million in the scheme, which it did not name.

He told The Times: 'If I had known that the legitimacy of this investment was going to be questioned, I would not have entered into it.'

'To date, to the best of my knowledge, I have received no tax rebates or benefits from this investment.'

Towry manages £2.5 billion of assets, and it has been estimated Fisher could net £100 million from a flotation of the national adviser group.

The Times has examined the list of members of 55 schemes run by music rights firm Icebreaker, and 39 Eclipse LLPs run by Future Capital Partners.

Others investors it has named include former F&C Asset Management chief executive Alain Grisay, former athlete Colin Jackson, former England manager Terry Venables and TV presenter Gabby Logan. The paper said that Grisay declined to comment on his investment in two Eclipse schemes.

The Times has also reported that 1,300 doctors and dentists are being investigated by HMRC amid suspicions they are guilty of tax evasion. It said that HMRC had clawed back £13.1 million from more than 2,000 medical staff, and that inquiries are to continue in 1,300 cases. Criminal investigations are being considered in 700 cases involving £3.1 million, it added.

The Times report is the latest in a series by the paper examining the tax arrangements of the UK's wealthy. Comedian Jimmy Carr has apologised after the paper revealed he sheltered £3.3 million in a scheme where investors expected to pay as little as 1.25% on their earnings. However, pop star Gary Barlow has remained silent after revelations that he and fellow Take That members invested at least £26 million in an Icebreaker music investment scheme that HMRC is trying to shut down. The paper has claimed that HMRC is investigating around 600 film investment schemes, and that it believes they represent a '£5 billion risk'.

94 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Alan Lakey

Jun 22, 2012 at 07:58

Seems to me he could do with a decent financial adviser

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Martin Bamford

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:12

'If I had known that the legitimacy of this investment was going to be questioned, I would not have entered into it.'

That's the sort of ignorance that led to some IFAs recommending things like Arch cru and Keydata :-)

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Euroseptic via mobile

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:16

Shock horror! Just shows the due diligence these people carry out, - clearly the sort of thing any normal and sane person would do when they have a quick £56m to set aside. If these astute pillars of the community weren't after a , (to quote the PM) a dodgy tax break, it would be fascinating to get an insight into their objectives when they made such investments. Why did they invest? Perhaps they are all closet movie fans.

Clearly in the case of the former Head of Coutts, it had something more attractive to offer than for example the Towry Discretionary offering, or possibly even better than that of his former employers. A tall order I know!

I hope he does the right thing to protect his reputation and sues his advisers.

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Kate Brookes

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:17

This man is the Cheif Executive of a firm that offers financial advice, and it would appear that he has never heard of due diligence!

Gobsmacking

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Ex-Edward Jones.

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:17

Will be interesting to see if this brings his honesty and integrity into question for the fit and proper test.

Most people regret taking a certain action after the've been found out.

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Man in Black

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:22

I think we all have a lot to say about Mr Fisher given his hypocritical holier-than-thou attitude to the sector and his clumsy arrogant demeanor.

But we cannot fault him this, for pity sake.

Film Partnership schemes haver been fairly standard fair for the 'middle market' for years. In the days of Inter-Alliance, we had an in-house Chartered Tax Adviser (the lovely Peter Smith) to contain some of the more eccentric transactions...as, well, there was plenty of this stuff going on.

On a more general note, much of what is being paraded as 'complex' and 'sophisticated' avoidance schemes by the Press are relatively straight-forward arrangements and hardly pushing the envelope.

It is natural that people will arrange their affairs in such a way as to reduce these penal and excessive rates of tax. They can't be faulted for this until the rates are brought down to more acceptable levels.

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David McElhoney

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:24

'To date, to the best of my knowledge, I have received no tax rebates or benefits from this investment.'

As a 'qualified' IFA I know every penny in and every penny out of my personal finances. This guy is spinning - go now, my industry does not need you!

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Julian Stevens

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:33

I agree with MIB. If, to the honest best of his knowledge (and that of others), the scheme was legitimate at the time he was considering investing in it, then why shouldn't he have taken advantage of the tax break it offered? It simply isn't possible to anticipate on what HMRC might decide next that they don't like the look of.

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Ex TL'er - To Adam Grant

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:34

Now I do not actually know anything about this type of scheme, but If I was a multi-millionaire, recieving advice on an exotic type of plan that had been working for many years, I might be tempted too. But I most certainly would know what any immediate and ongoing benefits were.

So to use the phrase "to the best of my knowledge" is downright slippery; If he is unsure as to his personal finances, how can he run a company and in turn, clients finances?

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Chartered Mark

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:51

There are a couple of issues here.

First, schemes like this, and others, have been around for ages. There have always been loop holes in the Tax regime, that are legal and have been exploited. The issue comes when the wide boys come in, and the boundaries are pushed and the loop hole is abused, So what was once a legitimate vehicle becomes a "morally wrong" vehicle.

Second, the Govts set the tax regime. The problem is that the Govt accountants who design the rules, always leave loop holes for other accountants to exploit. The problem comes when the Govt Accs are not as clever as those operating in the market, who then push the boundaries beyond any envisaged by the Govt.

Third, I am pretty sure that the majority of people, if offered a legal way of paying less tax would take it.

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PB via mobile

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:54

JS, I agree. However the same rationale should apply to all advisers who advised on Keydata and Arch Cru for their clients on the same basis.

Let's hope he wins any fight with HMRC because the Courts will have a difficult job avoiding the precedent it will set for advisers arguing against the FSCS & FSA!

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david mann

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:55

Now known as 'The Morally Repugnant Andrew Fisher'

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Padraig44

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:55

Well said Man in Black!

For years clever advisors have sought to utilise loopholes in tax laws that each year HMRC has sought to close after the event. The "game" is and always has been to devise the new scheme for the new perceived loophole and see if this sticks. The clever structure guys even build in a sinking fund to pay for the anticipated litigation that might ensue as they fight their corner. HMRC has the edge because it can employ post facto litigation having been alerted to the hole in its roof.

These advisors are not criminals nor somehow immoral; avoidance is not evasion and no sane mane would ever seek to pay more duty than can be legally imposed.

Cameron is now revealing his most un Tory , capricious and hypocritical side designed to appeal to the red-tops and the Daily Mail ( or the Times). When would any reader today have expected such pi guff from a Tory Prime minister?

Did his late and splendid old man not employ tax shelters and Trusts to ensure his sons maintained the inheritance? His pronouncements were the cheapest form of snide bullying deflecting us from the real problems and focussing us on the activities of a demotic "comedian" as bait. I hold no candle for Mr Carr but neither do I believe for a minute that he behaved unlawfully at the time of agreeing to his participation in this scheme- only later can HMRC seek to make it so.

Why do we not concentrate on the real questions? The ability of a group of parlimentarians advised by the Treasury to spread our vast tax monies like drunken sailors on shore leave? We are the most taxed nation on earth and we seem to wish to join Cameron's PR stunt like mindless bullies rather than see through his stunt for what it was: a nasty cheap stunt that sought -and succeeded- in deflecting us from the real issues such as the shamefully low corporate tax paid by some of our biggest FTSE 100 companies via sweetheart deals with the Revenue.

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Jack Walsh

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:55

Ex TL'er - To Adam Grant

If you don't know anything about these types of schemes then perhaps you should stop talking about them. Alternatively why don't you learn about them? Perhaps if you did you would realise, as even some of the normal Fisher bashers have had to admit, that this is standard tax avoidance.

Maybe you should just be concentrating on the Iannual ISA allowance and leave the difficult stuff to others who know what they're talking about?

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TCF

Jun 22, 2012 at 08:58

Invest with my company, pay high charges and make me millions so I can invest elsewhere. OK, these schemes are used by a number of people, but perhaps many of those people do not portray themselves as "all that is good" in the financial industry. Not only has this man left himself open to the charge of hypocrisy, some could say he has also shown bad judgement. Neither of these qualities seem to appropriate for the CEO of a financial advisory firm.

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neil jacobs

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:00

I wonder who got paid the commisssion???????

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Alasdair Sampson

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:01

If tax law is framed by the Government of that day and enacted by Parliament in such a way as specifically to provide legal tax allowances and/or rebates to taxpayers to encourage investment in the film or music industries it can surely come as no surprise to anyone that taxpayers will take advantage of that. Why create the allowance in the first place?

If tax law is framed in such a careless way that has the accidental and unforeseen result of legitimately allowing a taxpayer to arrange his affairs so as to minimise his tax liabilities who can be surprised that taxpayers then arrange their affairs in accordance with that law.

I fail to see what can be “morally repugnant” in following the law.

It may be socially undesirable in the current times that individuals minimise one’s tax liability legitimately, and socially desirable that HMRC’s tax take is increased, but that these are entirely different political matters and for the executive and the legislature to resolve by changing the law.

Assuming that the tax scheme involved complies with the law, however it is framed, then I greatly regret Jimmy Carr apologising in the manner that he has – his decision no doubt for public image purposes – as it simply legitimizes a withchunt by the media on what they subjectively consider to be moral grounds.

The media are hardly in any position to moralise on anyone .

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DG

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:03

@ Martin Bamford

I wonder if you could be so kind as to explain how the giving of advice, from so many “ignorant” IFAs, can have CAUSED the failure of the Arch Cru investments.

On the assumption, and I realise at this stage that it is an assumption on my part, that you won’t be able to provide this linkage, I wonder if you could then explain, given the information in the prospectus’, fund managers reports, ACD reports, IMA classification, (supposed) underlying assets, collateralisation, diversity, risk management strategies, FSA authorisation, etc, etc HOW the investment actually “failed”. Other than the ACD and the FSA colluding that it was in the best interests for investors that the funds be wound down I am unaware as to why this decision was taken and not, say, a lengthy moratorium?

Call me old-fashioned but I prefer to back up any statements I make. Despite trawling the internet for the last three years, I haven’t found any information from the FSA as to HOW these investments failed nor why the subsequent actions were taken. In these circumstances I would be rather more hesitant when accusing your fellow advisers and seek more detailed information before issuing sound bites.

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Charles Rickards

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:05

I agree with those that say, if it was legal, then why not? The Morality issue is personal to the individual concerned, unless of course 'Morals' are going to be legislated or regulated, like everything else!

I am concerned that so many individuals are being named as I feel sure lesser beings would feel the full force of the Data Protection act, for making such public disclosures. Oh but then the media does have a god given right to do as they please and to hell to any collateral damage caused.

A simplified tax system would stop a lot of this and generate greater revenues as indeed would public perception of how the taxes collected are spent!

How did Ingenious fund Avitar?

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:08

All very interesting....

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Hugh Jars

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:23

I couldn't give a toss about Mr Fisher's 'lack of due dilligence' whether hypocritcal MP's and media men think it's immoral to invest in a perfectly legal investment to avoid (not evade) tax.

My over-riding concern, is are there any IFA firms out there, who have exposed themselves so heavily to these schemes, which may collapse, as a result of the crazy media attention, thus rendering the IFA firm liable to complaints, and closure, and then....because they were regulated firms, the advice,is regulated...blah blah FSA mantra..... leading to....

Yep, even more sh*te coming our way from the FSCS levies....

the media will move on from this by Sunday, as England's exit from 2012 takes all the headlines,....the fallout will only begin for us to pick up the crap...

LegalClaimsRus are busy sharpening their knives as we speak ready for their next banquet...

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Paul Boyd

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:26

I have seen these tax schemes being touted by so called specialist tax advisers and the adviser arms of big accountancy firms for years.Trusts based in Luxembourg linked to seperate un traceable pensions to avoid UK tax,offshore companies which employ you so you are deemed non dom while still living here ,the list goes on and on.They are always on the edge and are always aimed at the highly paid and the wealthiest clients.As a result I have never been taken in by the sales patter fortunately.Many have either lost significant funds for clients or been challenged,some are god quality and suit those who genuinely will not always be UK resident ,but many are so artificail convoluted and complicated that they should set alarm bells ringing.

I have met several (usually very arrogant )IFA's who also promote them, whilst laughing at those of us who use the more standard tax avoidance routes with Trusts ,EIS and VCT'setc.So I have no sympathy for anyone caught by this. Use the basic tools don't try and take on HMRC and you will be fine.Canada Life and Aegon both tried it with their offshore bonds last year,I said it would cause them trouble and lo and behold it did!Our industry is littered with these sorts of things, but some never seem to learn or make excuses and blame someone else!! Whats the long termresult,RDR ,a sledgehammer to crack a nut,but it was inevitable when there are those prepared to cock a snook, again and again and again.

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:35

@ Martin Bamford - As DG says you obviously have a file on your due diligence as to why you didn't reccomend Keydata or Arch Cru don't you, so please do show and tell.

I had no clients with Arch Cru, but that does not make it right what is being done to advisers who did reccomend them as DG has explained. There were failures on the part of many individuals higher up the food chain and they have been allowed to get away VERY lightly by the powers that be and the proverbial is rolling down the hill, will take out a lot of good and honest advisers and then the liability will land in your lap and mine (If the Keydata debacle does not drag my firm down first).

I have 8 small cases with Keydata, but the failure of PI to do what it is desigend to, means there is NO PI cover and none of my client complaiend about the advice, they ALL complained about misrepresentation and failures of the combination of Keydata managament and more importantly failure of the managament THE FSA and Luxembourg Regulator put in place to replace the existing Keydata/Lifemark managament.

Either the scheme was a ponzi scheme from day one (fraud) or it was mis managed POST FSA and PWC asking the court to hae Keydata deemed insolvent. If it was the latter, then this is a failure of the FSA, PWC and KPMG to look after the interests of the investors and nothing to do with advice. I suspect the latter, but without an open investigation, the truth will never come out.

Don't forget Martin, over 600 firms, let alone advisers reccomended the Keydata Life Settlement Plans over several years with not a SINGLE word said publicly by the FSA until AFTER the collapse of Keydata!

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Hugh Jars

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:37

@Paul Boyd,

Agree with you entirely,

As I said in my post at 9.23, my main concern is the firms going under due to exposing themselves exclusively to this type of planning, ( I have no problem with the tax planning scheme per se) it is the fact we will be hit with more and more FSCS levies, when these firms go bump, (which they will do without hesitation, - and operate offshore, outside UK legislation)

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Martin Bamford

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:44

@Phil Castle

Phil, this isn't about my basic competence and ability to understand the risk associated with investment or tax planning schemes (and incidentally, yes, we do have our research notes showing why those schemes were such a bad idea for cautious investors).

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The Party's Over

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:49

Leaving aside the Andrew Fisher sideshow which is an irrelevance to the main issue about whether imorality is the same as illegality which clearly it is not, I am in total agreement with Padraig44's thoughtful and intelligent contribution.

The tax system in the UK is broken and has been for a long time; it's time it was reformed and made more simple.

Whilst we're at it discussing tax breaks, it's not so long ago (and it still continues to this day) that our own very smug MPs were following the rules just like Andrew Fisher, Gary Barlow and Jim Carr; for example, and it is only one of many, house-flipping was taken to new levels.

Governments of all colours are like the robber barons of old; they take what they like as if their is a bottomless pit of cash; this to me is the greatest injustice and they need to put the house, in which we all live, in order.

Politicians need to be taken to task instead of a gloating public being served rotten tomatoes to throw at people, love them or hate them, who haven't broken the law but have taken advantage of an apalling tax system which given time will show even MPs have benefited in the same way. There's probably more than one of them talking to their accountants as we speak.

And finally, when we're looking at morality, would it have been ok if Andrew Fisher and several others like him, had invested in a tax avoidance scheme and instead of paying 1% tax actually paid 20% or should it be 5% tax or 35% tax?

This is the question we should be asking ourself: what is a deemed to be a fair rate of tax and when are our desperate political leaders going to finally sort it out?

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:55

@ Martin - You are twisting words. These plans were used by advisers for clients with a variety of risk profiles and in varying proportions as part of a portfolio which may have been cautious or high risk. No different to a cautious client holding one or two shares directly.

Herbert Smith on behalf of the FSCS are taken action against every singel adviser who used them, whatever the client's attitude to risk, whetehr tehy complaiend about the advice or not and whatever the porpotion of a clients portfolio allocated to Life Settlement Plans. THAT is why your comments with regard Keydata and Arch don't do you any credit Martin

As you have your research, I would be interested to see a copy to see as I suspect any other adviser who used Life Settlement Plans would . You have my email address Martin.

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Kins

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:56

You are only sorry when you are caught !

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DSW

Jun 22, 2012 at 09:59

Alan Lakey beat me to it.

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Stephen Ng

Jun 22, 2012 at 10:00

Let's cut to the chase, 'Greed' is the motivating factor here, pure and simple!

I'm all for people creating wealth for themselves but in Fisher's case, I have little sympathy. His constant bleatings in the press have drawn attention to him so he can have no complaints now.

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DG

Jun 22, 2012 at 10:06

@ Hugh Jars

I agree with your sentiments.

However, does this not highlight once again the way the FSCS is regarded by the FSA.

I always thought this compensation mechanism was, at its heart, a scheme of last resort. Just because an investment “fails” does this always mean that a claim can be made against it. Is no discretion allowed?

Take the situation here. As many more intelligent commentators have posted, which clearly contradict and outnumber the usual holier-than-thou, after-the-event know-alls, these were legitimate schemes; let’s ignore the morality issue. If such esoteric schemes “go wrong”, in that HMRC challenge their structure at a later date, then this should have been realised, at least as a possibility, at the outset and presumably that risk (which was never insignificant) can hardly result in blame being passed around, yet again, and inevitably placed in the lap of the advisers – as Mr Carr was seemingly implying yesterday.

However, the FSA will state that, irrespective of the investment, if the adviser was regulated the blame can fall to them in the event of a claim. Many firms faced with this will simply fold as they cannot cope with the FSA’s hindsight action of allowing blame to be apportioned in this manner. As such firms will close and/or phoenix and the FSCS picks up the tab because, as ever, they are simply using, to coin JS, OPM.

There is a far bigger issue here which has manifested itself with Keydata and others and will reach its pinnacle with Arch cru if the s404 Consumer Redress Scheme gets through. And that is that, irrespective of how the investment was described, irrespective of the knowledge of the investor, irrespective of whether a complaint has been lodged, if something goes “wrong” (and the FSA doesn't even have to produce any evidence as to how they arrive at this decision (unless MB can supply it of course)) the few remaining firms will be picking up the tab through the FSCS.

Keydata, MF Global, Arch Cru, Tax Schemes.......whatever next.

Oh, I almost forgot. There soon won’t even need to be a claim lodged by the investors. The FSA will do it for them through the application of the s404. Far easier to wipe out a few more IFAs, with no evidence to back their actions, than have the Government/FSA look like they don’t know what they’re doing.

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Julian Sunley

Jun 22, 2012 at 10:13

I think '8 out of 10 cats' on TV at 10pm tonight could be interesting.

As with the discussion on 'This Week' last night, I feel it is all a question of the extent of tax saving with some of these 'wierd and wonderful schemes'.

We no doubt all agree that using ISA allowances, Loan Trusts, Discounted Gift Trusts, Discretionary Trusts, Absolute Trusts, pension contribution tax relief etc are all fine and above board, few are likely to argue with VCTs, EIS's and the like, but anything that could potentially reduce tax to virtually zero (i.e. in the case of Jimmy Carr and others) is branded 'immoral' by some. Quite where the film schemes (a la Fisher et al) fit into this I don't know but I tend to agree that it is down to the policymakers to close any deemed loopholes rather than chastise those that use them.

Much as I personally view most Towry/Fisher stories with a smirk I can't help but feel on this one occasion he is just one of many wealthy individuals who are now coming under the spotlight due to an increased media interest in the topic - although equally people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones......

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PB via mobile

Jun 22, 2012 at 10:15

@Martin Bamford

It's interesting that your research notes show these schemes as mot being suitable for Cautious investirs, but do your research notes also show why Keydata & Arch Cru were not suitable for Medium Risk investors, because that is what the FSCS is claiming ?

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John Whipple

Jun 22, 2012 at 10:21

Oh no here we go I have to do it but - Mr Fisher had a right to invest in a government created tax shelter scheme. These schemes were created and encouraged by Government seen as a cheaper way of getting private money into Films/TV production so that the state (taxpayers) could withdraw from funding directly.

So the reliefs that might possibly accrue to the investors were offset against sure-fire outlays.

The investors take a risk some risky than others sure, the industry receives funding and projects the culture and image of the UK ( a very valuable although intangible and unmeasurable credit to the UK economy) and the treasury extracts itself from part funding the industry directly.

Now it seems that for some reason the governing elite have decided to destroy this form of funding in a rather childish and spiteful way rather than reforming the allowances and schemes in an orderly manner.

perhaps there aim is to destroy another successful industry ?

As to high moral ground Mr Cameron does pay his taxes sure but then anything he wants / needs done say, trimming a wisteria on his house for example is just paid for by the tax payer as he claims it on expenses so he doesn't need esoteric tax avoidance schemes he just fill in a form and we pay for it.

For the record far from slowing down or curtailing MP's expenses since the "scandal" broke MP's expenses have soared for just 2 months Jan. and Feb. this year £3.2 million granted and £880,000 spent on "official payment cards".

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Mike Shaw

Jun 22, 2012 at 10:29

What's the German for Schadenfreude?

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TCF

Jun 22, 2012 at 10:44

Honesty and integrity are just two qualities that Towry Law’s chief executive

most values and they have no doubt helped him map a successful career path

Moneymarketing 2007 !!!

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Julian Stevens

Jun 22, 2012 at 10:45

As John Whipple and others have said, these tax-incentivised, and often fairly speculative, investment schemes were created by the government to encourage people to........invest in them. Now, it seems, because the people who've taken them up appear to be those with most to gain in terms of the tax breaks they offer, HMRC has decided that too many people are investing in them more for the tax breaks than as an investment proposition. What the hell did HMRC expect? For such schemes to be most popular with ordinary people of relatively modest means whose investment aspirations probably extend no further than an ISA?

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Hugh Jars

Jun 22, 2012 at 10:50

@Mike Shaw

It could be;

Dat vill teech yer !

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James

Jun 22, 2012 at 10:55

I have no time for Fisher, but on this occassion sit in the camp that these were schemes that were created by the last government, so if this government don't want to offer the same tax breaks, close those tax breaks, but don't go after people who took advantage of what government set up.

However the corruption at the high end of British life is gradually being exposed. Rather than headlines about how 'wealth creators' invest to save tax, I'd rather the FTSE100 directors were hauled over the coals for the monstrous increase in their earnings whilst their share prices have fallen, and the comparative wages of their employees haven't grown.

The top end of British life is massively greedy, and morally corrupt.

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Hickky

Jun 22, 2012 at 10:57

Another ex TL

Firstly, I cannot think of a better man to be caught up in this muddle, and I am glad he has had the temerity to say to taxpayers he is sorry. I am surprised the words didn't cause a certain constriction in his throat, but nevertheless.

Secondly, there is a big difference between tax planning and tax avoidance. Tax planning is arraigning your affairs to take advantage of Revenue Approved tax breaks. Those that over time, or through legislation have become accepted by the authorities.

Where schemes are set up, with a tax lawyers opinion that they will be recognised as legitimate, but not tested in Law, there is little difference between avoidance and evasion. If the courts decide these schemes are not legitimate, then why not prosecute all investors with tax evasion, and put their promoters in Jail ?

Whilst tax breaks were put in place to encourage investment in the British Film Industry, they have been usurped by greedy individuals who see nothing wrong with gaining enormous wealth at the expense of the taxpayer, and the Film industry itself. The promoters of K2 do not even have the luxury of the film industry as any moral defence.

In the Times article, one dentist, who may be in for a bill of over £200,000 if the scheme fails stated he received advice from his Financial Adviser and did not receive any risk warning, being told the scheme was legitimate.

So does he have a claim? Is the adviser still trading? Is there any chance I will have to pay towards compensation to a millionaire dentist?

Answers please.

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the quizmaster

Jun 22, 2012 at 11:18

I think this raises a lot of issues. You have to give credit to the reporter who exposed this lot. Considering the confidentially of the details being exposed brings the Leveson enquiry into focus, when is it right and wrong to dig into people’s personal life. Although phone hacking etc seems morally wrong you can’t argue that whatever tactics used to expose this grotesque legal loop hole is a benefit to the country. We can hardly condemn people for claiming benefits above the average salary when this sort of thing is going on.

As for the people that have advised these things, you may be right that they are legal. Snooper speed camera detectors are not illegal, but they are designed to allow people to continue to speed without being caught. Speeding is considered a factor in road deaths therefore to me a snooper is morally wrong. I have studied most of the financial planning books and although there is a mention of film rights and other complicated things they are not openly encouraged by the bodies providing Statements of professional standing.

The people being exposed are the clients. Their moral compass is being challenged in public whilst the advisers have runoff with the commissions without a single mention or embarrassment. They have taken their excessive commissions and no doubt hidden that somewhere so that they can claim poverty when they get sued by their red faced clients and leave us to pick up the tab again.

I think it is time to outlaw PI it will make adviser sit up and think ‘is this investment going to cause me to lose my home? It will stop advisers being fast and lose with other people money.

as for Phil Castle, of the three amigos, I now know who to thank for my larger than normal FSCS bill. Please don’t try to make yourself look clever to your clients again at my expense. Funny how people like you always criticise other people’s competence.

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Peter Kay

Jun 22, 2012 at 11:20

What goes around comes around Mr Fisher- I suspect, and hope, that the Raymond James 7 will be raising a glass or two at this announcement!

As Jim Royle would say "Honesty and Integrity- my axxe!

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yellow army

Jun 22, 2012 at 11:33

hickky

possibly yes. for example mike marsali (on page 6 of the times today) sold all of his schemes in the past via a couple of ifa firms who are no longer authorised. all of the schemes he sold are UCIS so if there are complaints that are upheld from his past clients then it is possible we will all be on the hook via the FSCS.

interestingly this guy is also a bankrupt and is no longer regulated even though he is now a "senior investment consultant "at Phoros Tax and is banging out a section 41 scheme to punters when he is not authorised. i'm sure the FSA may well pick up on this today...

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John Whipple

Jun 22, 2012 at 11:41

@ Hiccy - K2 schemes are punted out mostly by Accountants as they get big commissions every client payday. There are few of these type of schemes around.

The accountants all run very big disclaimers all the risk sits with the client.

The accountants just get the commissions.

They are not "investment" products or contracts.

Film /TV Investment schemes are "Investment" business however, they are introduced by both IFA's where the risk sits with the adviser and others accountants mostly the risk here sits with clients in the first instance.

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 11:52

@Quizmaster - If you would like to ring me giving me your name (which I will not quote on Citywire), I will discuss matters openly with you. I would have replied to any criticism and discussed matters had there been a response from Martin Bamford or from someone using their real name. As you do not have the courage to use your own name you may therefore be breaching several professional bodies code of ethics by replying in this manner, so if I do not hear from you, I will simply ask Citywire to remove your post.

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John Whipple

Jun 22, 2012 at 11:55

@ Quizmaster

FSCS Levy

1) It is those firms / advisers who have gone bust / liquidated themselves before redress is paid out by them that you/we are paying for not those that are still trading.

PI

2) A good idea, perhaps depositing a notional annual premium into a holding account each year and self insuring to a certain extent instead.

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 12:02

In case people think I am going over the top i my criticism of Quizmaster, the new requirement is to have an SPS and adhere to a code of Ethics. I have my SPS from the CII, having pointed out to them the code of Ethics is being overlooked by many in the industry, who sign it withotu reading it.

Quizmaster's posts appear to breach 2.1 and 2.3 of the CII code http://www.cii.co.uk/media/137912/code-of-ethics.pdf

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Hickky

Jun 22, 2012 at 12:02

Since the Middle Ages, revolt has occurred when the differential between the big money owners, and the average workers became too large.

The peasants revolt came about when there was a huge disparity between the ruling classes and the freeman. When the ruling classes (the King) wanted more money to pay for his overseas war, he instigated a pole tax. As the plague reduced the population, the freemen had power over the economy, and a revolution occurred, not winning immediately, but over 50 odd years.

The labour party came into being as a consequence of the immense wealth of Victorian entrepreneurs compared with their workers.

Over the last Labour governments, the rich and powerful became even more richer, and powerful, whilst the rest of us got screwed, which is a direct consequence of Brown being in control of government money.

Therefore these revelations of the rich and powerful finding quasi-legitimate tax reduction schemes is such great journalism, and goes right to the heart of the British psyche.

Hypocrisy is the one trait we, as citizens really resent.

Greedy financiers, greedy doctors, greedy dentists, greedy CEOs, greedy politicians, greedy Quangos, the list goes on.

We have a minimum wage, we now need ways of controlling the upper limits of pay, unless as a genuine entrepreneur, who takes personal risk to make money, not as an employee of a corporation.

How do we do this? Ahhh, now there's the rub.

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Bert Poppins

Jun 22, 2012 at 12:05

There really are some strange breeds amongst us (not to mention far to many perfect advisers with amazing foresight). I always wonder when advisers claim they saw the tech/property/credit market coming that they and their clients are not incredibly wealthy people. Given that some of the brightest people didn't see it coming (or if they did certainly didn't do too well in avoiding it) these advisers should be promoting their investment services from the rooftop instead of from a small part of England! Criticising other peoples misfortune, whether they deserve it or not, is a very unpleasant and very unattractive habit.

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Hickky

Jun 22, 2012 at 12:12

@ Yellow.

Interesting.

Lets hope the FSA does take note and bar these individuals from legitimate trade.

@ John W

I thought the accountants peddled these schemes for big payments every payday. I hope a standard disclaimer is insufficient to satisfy their professional standards, and some self flagellation occurs.

The Film investments worry me though. Yet another unauthorised investment that could cause me to pay the wealthy when their crackpot scheme fails. If one of these schemes loses all its money as it invests in unsuccessful films, and the client was not v high risk, will I have to pay for all those who were advised to invest into it at a lower risk?

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Hickky

Jun 22, 2012 at 12:14

@ Bert

In this story, who are the misfortunate?

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Alasdair Sampson

Jun 22, 2012 at 12:25

I have just come back in to the office from seeing my accountant – no prizes for guessing one topic of discussion! – and have scanned though the blogs.

All very interesting and no doubt this will run and run. Especially when you get politicians of substantial financial backgrounds, and frequently inherited at that thanks to tax sheltering of their parents, mounting their moral high horses.

But there is one thing here that puzzles me….whilst the politicians are preaching morals and whilst Times et al are “naming and shaming” could someone please tell me who was minding the confidentiality of the personal data of those “named and shamed”.

How did personal financial data find their way into the public domain in the first place?

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Bert Poppins

Jun 22, 2012 at 12:26

@ Hickky - it is not the content of the story that I'm aiming that remark. Mr Fisher and the other tax scheme participants have done nothing wrong in my eyes other than exploit legislation in their favour. The fact that we have a political system that would rather impose moral obligation on people as opposed to simply drafting comprehensive legislation is probably the issue here.

My comments were aimed at the contributors to this thread (and many, many others on Citywire).

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Paul Boyd

Jun 22, 2012 at 13:38

There are many on here quite rightly defending tax avoidance in general.However ,I take issue with these types of schemes,used by the wealthy because they are advised by so called tax specialists (accountants or IFA's) who either devise schemes using various bits of rules and then add on other bits to come up with a "new" clever plan.In reality they are making their own tax rules and the wonder why they get challenged.The coverall for these schemes is usually that they have been looked at by a tax barrister who has given his view that they work,even though they have never been checked through case law.So to all of you who say Fisher and his like are being attacked by the moralistic politicians, I say you are barking up the wrong tree, because you have been taken in by people you think are clever and you want to appear clever too !Problem is they are not as clever as they think and you are just not clever.Why are so many surprised, given this government enacted legislation in this years finance bill ,saying they would do exactly this?

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Lanzarote Charlie

Jun 22, 2012 at 13:40

I said from the first day he spoke to us at EDJ, I don't trust him and never would.

All he needs is a sheepskin coat and a pair of hush puppies. Plonker.

'All sentiments expressed are purely personal and not worthy of trying to sue me for many millions of pounds', if I have offended his delicate nature then of course I publicly and unreservedly apologise.

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philip spierling

Jun 22, 2012 at 13:56

there must be an MP out there who has got involved in some type of tax avoidance scheme,,,does any body know one.

they must have stashed all the fiddled expenses some where.

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PensionMan

Jun 22, 2012 at 14:41

Phil Castle

Mr Castle - has it dawned on you that Quizmaster may not be an IFA and; therefore, not subject to these requirements?

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Nick Bamford

Jun 22, 2012 at 14:53

@ Phil Castle

I sort of think it should be the other way round, those who recommended Arch cru should be producing their due diligence notes not those who did not recommend it. But if you show us yours we will show you ours :)

@ PB

Correct we felt not suitable for balanced investors either.

For the sake of clarity the due diligence minimum for a competent adviser should surely have been;

Read the brochure

Understand the underlying asset class mix

Form a professional opinion about the degree of risk and reward

Determine any other factors of a positive or negative nature (who was backing any claims about performance for example and how were those returns to be delivered?)

Ensure suitability for any individual client including the extent to which the fund was to be used

But I think you should recognise my right to still feel bitter and twisted that not having sold this stuff it will cost my firm tens of thousands of pounds in FSCS levies

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 14:54

@ Pensionmane, yes, but he did say " I now know who to thank for my larger than normal FSCS bill", which does inply he is in the same FSCS levy pool...

I am not a stockbroker or spread better and yet have had to pay for MF Global and others.

We all confirm we will abide by the terms of conditons for the Citywire Blogs. (T&Cs at bottom right of the page).

7.8 You may not use Discussion Groups on the Service to:

- Post abusive, vulgar, obscene, harassing, threatening, hateful, fraudulent, defamatory, sexually explicit, or unlawful material.

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Stanley Kirk

Jun 22, 2012 at 15:12

Dirty Tricks by HMRC - has anybody been found guilty of wrong doing? Shades of guilty until proven innocent - what is this country coming too!

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 15:14

@ Nick Bamford - As with another 600 firms, if Herbert Smith DO insist on pursuing all 600 firms who reccomended Keydata plans, then I will be presenting my evidence/defence in court.

In view of your offer, to show yours file, I will probably ask you or Martin to provide your due diligence file at the court to see why 600 firms arrived at a different conclusion to you and Martin.

I agree with your assessment of what minimum due diligence should be and that was carried out (and more) by me and I suspect the vast majority of the other 600 firms affected.

The Wharton report Oct 2002, Bernstein Research March 2005 LISA White Paper 2006, Prof Merlin Stone Oct 2007 (Bristol Business School) and Dr Debbie Harrison (CASS Business school) will have influenced many financial advisers.

Did reading these form part of your due diligence so discount using Life Settlement plans?

I recognise your right to be annoyed. I have been annoyed to have to pay for MF Global and all the other failures I have NOT been involved in, including Arch Cru.

I would hoepe you recognise my right to defend the public criticisms by your son of anyone who has used anything he doesn't like. He implies anyone reccomending Keydata were ignorant in his post. Well even the FSA were ignorant that £103 million had been stolen from under the eyes of the auditors and custodians. How is that your fault or mine?

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PensionMan

Jun 22, 2012 at 15:14

Phil Castle

Re:

7.8 You may not use Discussion Groups on the Service to:

- Post abusive, vulgar, obscene, harassing, threatening, hateful, fraudulent, defamatory, sexually explicit, or unlawful material

Are you saying this has been breached?

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DG

Jun 22, 2012 at 15:17

@ Phil Castle

We're obviously not going to get any answer from the soapbox duo.

None of the above mentioned "due diligence minimum for a competent adviser" wasn't carried out as far as I was concerned. Still did not do any good. Funny how the same process, according to the FSA, obviously proved too much for the intellectual prowess of 90% of the other advisers who also decided the use of the Arch Cru funds might be an interesting addition to some of their clients' portfolios. Amazingly widespread failure rate on their part of a process that seemingly works just fine for every other investment.

Still, anyone can be smart after the event...and boy do these two take the gold medal.

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philip spierling

Jun 22, 2012 at 15:24

@ phil castle

look out,,martin bamford has told his dad on you,,

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 15:34

@ Pension man - Is this defamatory? "That's the sort of ignorance that led to some IFAs recommending things like Arch cru and Keydata :-)"

and this does this "of the three amigos, I now know who to thank for my larger than normal FSCS bill. Please don’t try to make yourself look clever to your clients again at my expense. Funny how people like you always criticise other people’s competence" by being posted anon, breach this

2.1 being honest, trustworthy and open;

2.3 not taking unfair advantage of a client, a colleague or a third party;

My response to Martin was open and does nto take an unfair advantage. The response from "the Quizmaster" and you is NOT open as you are both using a pseuodoname and is an unfair advantage as you can say anything you like without it reflecting on you.

Nick is defending his son, although I personally think accusing 600 firms of being ignorant and expecting no response is going a little far when the court has not ruled yet, there has been no investigation of the facts.

Nick and Martin continue to be smart after the event, without giving the benefit of their "crystal ball" due diligence which resulted in them steering clear. There are a lot of things I saw coming (and avoided) including me not ending up in Afghanistan or Iraq.

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Julian Stevens

Jun 22, 2012 at 15:43

Now, now girls, put those handbags away...

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PensionMan

Jun 22, 2012 at 15:47

Phil Castle

Fair points - I see where you are coming from now.

Its always interesting to read these posts as they regularly turn into IFA's having a rant at each other. In many cases this is understandable as it must be galling beyond words to pay for someone elses deemed bad advice / errors or the failure of a fund which you had nothing to do with.

I am somewhat suprised though that RDR hasnt made it into this yet!

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Nick Bamford

Jun 22, 2012 at 15:50

@Phil Castle

"In view of your offer, to show yours file, I will probably ask you or Martin to provide your due diligence file at the court to see why 600 firms arrived at a different conclusion to you and Martin"

Happy to do that but how will that help your case? Won't we be a better witness for the plaintiff?

"I agree with your assessment of what minimum due diligence should be and that was carried out (and more) by me and I suspect the vast majority of the other 600 firms affected".

In which case when you have your day in Court you will win won't you?

Regards

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 16:06

@ Nick Bamford - If I am found guilty I will be ceasing trading as will many other IFAs who reccomended Keydata I suspect. That is despite having finsihed my level 4 in the last 12 months, sat CF8 2 weeks ago and started doing STEP.

At least if we get to defend ourselves in court, we can be hung by law rather than hearsay and inuendo.

If yo are not happy to send me yur due diligence file now, then please send your file to Kristopher McGee at Herbert Smith LLP, Exchange House, Primrose Street, London. EC2A 2HS and I will then ask him for a copy pre-disclosure ready for the court cases which I think likely are to ensue for the 600 firms involved. We can then see what you did differently to arrive at different conclusions.I will be expecting to see your file ready for court then please Nick, you offerred.....

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Nick Bamford

Jun 22, 2012 at 16:18

@Phil Castle

Is it your intention to ensure that you do not dump any liabilities on the FSCS if you cease trading as a result of this, or should I set aside some more capital to pay further FSCS levies?

I will certainly let your lawyer have our due diligence notes once you have published yours on this site. I think you will agree that is fair

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 16:40

Herbert Smith is the FSCS lawyer. Send it to them please. I will report on this site whether you do or you don't. It will be good to see your detailed analysis or the reason why not....

And yes the liabilities will fall to the FSCS if the FSCS win as I have explained to them and the FSA as we are only requried to carry £10,000 of capital adequacy. Despite this Herbert Smith are continuing to refuse to mediate and are ploughing ahead running up their legal fees and wasting the courts time (and mine), despite the knowledge that they will not be doing anything other than putting the coroprate entity out of business as like you, we are a limited company. Don't worry, I will not be "phoenixing" if that happens, it will be 30 years of work down the drain.

QBE who were our insurers at the time retreated from providing PI to (IFAs,forwarned one wonders) our replacement PI insurers (Liberty) cleverly changed the wording of the PI contract the year before the proverbial finished hitting the fan ( with Keydata. Because of my unblemished claims and complaint record (one complaint in 14 years of having my own business which did not even go to FOS once the clients solicitor heard the MP3 recording of the client meeting), my PI cost has always been very low. We couldn't get the insurer to note the potential claim when problems started to appear after PWC got involved becuase no clients had complained about our advice and we could not invite claims as you know, without invalidating the PI itself Catch 22 really.

So the risk is now uninsured for us as with many IFA firms. Even if it wasn't, then the PI excess will result in me leaving the indsutry as it will result in us breaching our capital adequacy and it would be lunacy to invest anymore time or money in this job if we loose.

So it will be **it or bust, but the really annoying thing (for you too I susepct and why HS shoud be mediating NOW and not pursuing 600 firms to court), is if we win, we all loose still as the FSCS levies still have to be met.

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John Whipple

Jun 22, 2012 at 16:40

@ Philip S MP's, Rt Hon MP's and recently Upgraded / retired MP's and Rt Hon MP's out there with "Blind Trusts" filled and created whilst in power ?

Oh yes there are.

@ Bert Poppins "Criticising other peoples misfortune, whether they deserve it or not, is a very unpleasant and very unattractive habit." - I agree.

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 16:47

@ Nick - Oh, I see you are stooping to innuendo like marti did to start this debate by using inflamatory language like "dumping liabilities". What do you realistically expect me and the 600 other firms to do? Role over and take it?

Tell you what Nick, if the FSCS were to loose, would you pay me what they are asking me for plus costs? I very much doubt it. This fight with the FSCS is an uneven fight as the only winners will be the lawyers who are going for what they think is low hanging fruit while leaving all the other third parties alone.

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Nick Bamford

Jun 22, 2012 at 17:02

@Phil Castle

I don't expect you and 600 other firms to role over and take it. I have only a resonable expectation that you can defend yourself by producing suitable evidence that you did due diligence and evidenced suitability for your clients In which case you will win in court. I note that you have not published it I suspect you will not.

You don't like my language because it is inflamatory in which case you would not want to hear what I have to say when the FSCS debits £22,000 from my firm's bank account next month. If you don't like me using the expression "dumping liabilities" tell me what it is you are going to do to make sure I and many other IFAs don't have to pay for the consequences of your actions?

Why is it you believe that others should pay for your actions? You now want others to pay your costs if the FSCS loses? Are you really serious? I suspect you are losing the plot here.

Those of us who did not sell Arch cru/ Keydata expect you who did to evidence its suitability through the legal process not the other way round!

Imagine a police officer asking me "Mr Bamford why didn't you exceed the 40mph speed limit? It isn't going to happen is it?

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Nick Bamford

Jun 22, 2012 at 17:03

Andrew Fisher must be loving this we have gone totally off subject!! :)

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Julian Sunley

Jun 22, 2012 at 17:06

Seeing as I can't seem to unsubscribe from alerts from my smartphone can those 'off topic' please speak to each other offline as I really am bored now. Haven't you got pubs to go to - it is Friday you know,,,,,,

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Alan Lakey

Jun 22, 2012 at 17:08

The issue being debated is nothing to do with adviser due diligence but with the process by which the regulator and its satellite bodies are able to drain funds from the adviser sector.

Consider the many firms - large and small - that decided that Arch Cru or Keydata was an appropriate invetsment. Are all of these firms guilty of advisory failure or is it the unfair system we toil under?

How would split-caps be dealt with today? You remember, the very same split caps that the FSA due diligence considered to be low risk, as posted on their website.

Callum McCarthy was right, the model is broken. Just not the advisory one.

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Bert Poppins

Jun 22, 2012 at 17:15

OMG - Citywire can you please provide an easy to use button to prevent a flow of crap coming through without me asking. Also can you introduce a system that prevents the same old people drivelling on about the same old boring misguided stuff. Also can we ban cod-academics as well from spouting ill informed guff about society, economic "facts" etc.

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 17:26

@ Nick Bamford - You have made another aspirtion by saying "I note that you have not published it I suspect you will not."

You KNOW I will be required to prove it in court in order to win my case. I could make the same claim, i.e. I suspect you and Martin are not providing the due diligence you undertook AT THE TIME as it would be teh same one the FSCS seem to be using i.e. the one with the benefits of hindsight. Did you do any at the time to decide it wasn't unsuitable. Yes or NO? What did you look at? I told you some of the report I read as part of my research. You have told me NOTHING.

You have made an accusation I will be required to prove in court, which I will attempt to do and as you know it is unfair to ask me or any other adviser to produce it publicly now when it will be disclosed in court in due course.

Will you and Martin in the interests of fairness and so as NOT to continue to bring the PFS is to disrepute by casting aspirtions on me and the other 600 firms involved, whilst hiding behind a claim to have a due diligence file as to why you didn't use a product.

There are members of AIFAs board for goodness sake who are also caught up in the Keydata debacle PERSONALLY, but are not speaking up.

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Phil Castle

Jun 22, 2012 at 17:34

@ Burt Poppins - and whilst I agree with most of your posts above, so perhaps your comment wasn't aimed at me, but whoever it is aimed at, it is a little unfair when you don't exist in the first place. At least Julian Sunley exists. Are you buying Julian? :-)

Surname: poppins

Forenames: bert

Individual reference number:

Match level: Starts with

Currently Approved:

Search again

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No matches found.

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Julian Sunley

Jun 22, 2012 at 17:43

Duke of Wellington in Twyford later on, but only for those with 3 or less posts on the same thread :)

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Bert Poppins

Jun 22, 2012 at 17:53

Just because I'm not a controlled function doesn't mean I don't exist. Is that regulatory existentialism? Robert Poppins is the name. I work with a lot of advisers and own a decent stake in a fairly big one. Besides the point - the comments aren't industry specific

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the quizmaster

Jun 22, 2012 at 18:55

I am no fan of Andrew fisher and even less so of Jimmy Carr, however I do worry about advisers who carry out investments that can be challenged in the future. What is the point of me and others doing all this training, business planning followed by creation of a robust Investment proposition when my family and I are continuously at risk from advice given by advisers that I have never set eyes on.

Worse still clients are indirectly at risk because these sudden enlarged FSCS payments could put some smaller IFAs out of business leaving their clients orphaned.

I think the FSCS needs adjusting so that advisers pay in relation to the type of investments advised. That way my clients and I would not be exposed other peoples due diligence and investments whether good or bad it I chose not to advise them.

I am sorry I did not realise Phil that you have only reached Level 4 in the last 12 months Congratulations on passing CF8. Have you ever thought about outsourcing your investment advice? Suggest you stop telling people quite so much about yourself whilst dishing it out.

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Kate Brookes

Jun 22, 2012 at 20:21

Another Friday afternoon bunfight.

Do you guys have clients to deal with on a Friday or are you on a four day week?

Anyway, on the tax issue have a bit of NIetzsce to contemplate over the W/E

'All things are subject to interpretation whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.'

Have a good one, Kate

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Peter Parker

Jun 23, 2012 at 01:58

Tough luck chaps, looks like sour grapes are being handed around. If only you had been given the opportunity to participate I'm sure we would not be hearing form you.

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michael riley

Jun 23, 2012 at 09:48

What goes around comes around eh?

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Luxemburg3r

Jun 24, 2012 at 11:03

The general problem with film schemes is the artificial nature of the loans advanced to investors which are never repaid, but which allow investors to claim tax relief for much more than they actually lose. Why should HMRC allow artificially inflated claims?

There is very little or no investment risk in these schemes. There is, however, a huge HMRC risk which probably doesn't find it's way into a Suitability Report.

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Usually found sitting on the fence

Jun 25, 2012 at 12:24

To summarise the above:

Most believe the Govt and HMRC are at fault, through high tax and overly complicated taxation legislation. Most agree it to be on the wrong side of morally acceptable behaviour, but few condone the individuals using the schemes. Many feel the providers and advisers (legal, accounting, IFAs) are the ones that need to be addressed.

IFAs like to squabble amongst themselves, when logic suggests they should be uniting and sticking together to try and wrestle some of the power back from the beaurocrats.

Finally @ Julian Sunley, 8 out of 10 Cats did not disappoint on Friday, although it would have been nice to have seen Jon Richardson lay into Jimmy the same way he did Adele, a little while ago, when she bemoaned how much tax she paid (as, at least she paid it!!)

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Hickky

Jun 25, 2012 at 15:08

@ usually

There was a great programme on BBC4 last week where Harry Potter (no relation) argued the British Law based on case law, was the best in the world, against the continental system of inquisitional law.

Best for whom? Certainly the lawyers who can get paid vast amounts arguing tax law, immigration law, criminal appeals etc, that would not get to first base under inquisition.

Probably best for criminal prosecutions only.

HMRC and Government are not to blame, its the system which demands overly complicated legislation if only to stop some of the more obvious loopholes. The civil service is incapable of writing primary legislation that isn't challenged by someone for their own gain. Come the revolution everyone of those caught trying to subvert societies rules for their own benefit will be shot, and their relatives charged for the bullet.

If the tax dodges came from Frankie Boyle I would not be surprised, but the Carr has taken advice from his PR consultants, apologised and taken the reduced flack. PS can I have 80% of my money back for the Christmas show in the NEC.?

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l'ifa passeport en provenance de France

Jun 25, 2012 at 16:02

Them Bamfords are very clever ! i want to be like them.......

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DG

Jun 25, 2012 at 16:45

Imagine a police officer asking me "Mr Bamford why didn't you exceed the 40mph speed limit? It isn't going to happen is it?

Rather more like:

Police Officer: Well Mr Bamford, whilst you were doing 39mph in a 40mph limit you should have realised that the p****d up driver who's crashed into you might have a licence but that doesn't mean he's fit to drive and therefore you should have been driving a tank. Painted day-glo orange. With flashing lights. But, as you weren't, and should have realised being hit was a possibility, the crash is actually your fault.

Good day sir.

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Usually found sitting on the fence

Jun 25, 2012 at 16:54

@ Hickky - I disagree, it is the Govt and HMRC who are responsible. If you change the rules to say that all income, from any source is taxed at a set % and that it is either paid by source (waged or salaried) or collected following completion of annual tax returns (self employed). Then there should be clearly defined rules on what can be offset against tax, with very clear upper limits or percentage of earnings limits. The only avoidance schemes should be ones that provide incentives to save for long term financial planning, ones that defer payment of tax for the benefit of the greater society (film schemes that are regulated and approved by HMRC) and those that give the individual no obvious future benefit (charitable donations). Govt should legislate that any scheme set up for the sole purpose of providing tax avoidance should be deemed illegal to provide, recommend or participate in.

Surely it could also go further to address the domiciled/non-domiciled issue as well. Where an individual has generated (or even inherited) great wealth in this country, then they should not be able to take this out of the country to avoid IHT and if they do, then beneficiary should not be able to hold a position of a public role (such as MP).

However, and I stress this point, the above only works if the levels of taxation are made more fair and equitable. There should be a single rate of tax, all employees (including directors) should receive pay in the form of wage, salary or paid bonuses. Bonuses should not be in the form of share incentive plans or shares full stop, or if they are they should pay the tax up front!!

IHT should be no higher than income tax, in fact it should be lower (as tax has already been paid on it), but some of this value will have been generated through "tax efficient" schemes...

The whole system needs simplifying, get rid of the complexity (reduce the staffing needs of the HMRC) and make the system work for the country and not the individual...

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Julian Stevens

Jun 25, 2012 at 17:16

The trouble with simplifying the tax system ~ and not just the income tax system, but all other elements of the tax system as well ~ is that it would make an awful lot of public sector workers and accountants redundant. That's all the complexity of the tax system is really, just a huge work creation scheme. When VAT was collected by Customs & Excise, it made virtually no money at all for the Treasury. It just employed people. The complexity of the NI system is completely ridiculous, serving no practical purpose whatsoever. And the government wonders why ordinary people are reluctant to engage with financial planning for the future. Can't you bozos SEE why? It's because everything to do with money is so terrifyingly complicated and you're just making it all worse.

As H D Thoreau famously said many moons ago: Our lives are frittered away in detail. Simplify, simplify! And he was right, and tragically so.

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Gwill-I-am

Jun 27, 2012 at 15:58

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

"DoubleThink' + 'NewsSpeak" = "DoubleSpeak"

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