"The Court of Appeal decision vindicates the original decision and will help vindicate the rights of more than 2,000 investors who have lost pension money through the defendants’ conduct"
The Court has upheld findings of breaches against Alexandra Associates (AA), trading as Avacade Future Solutions, and Craig and Lee Lummis in a case brought by the FCA.
The High Court agreed that Avacade, AA, Craig Lummis, Lee Lummis and Raymond Fox engaged in arranging and promoting investments without FCA authorisation and made false and misleading statements to investors which induced them to transfer their pensions into self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs). This was then transferred into alternative investments such as HotPods (office space available for rent), tree plantations and Brazilian property developments.
The appeal was brought by AA, Craig and Lee Lummis and today’s decision by the Court of Appeal upholds these findings.
More than 2,000 consumers transferred in the region of £91.8m from their pensions into SIPPs. Approximately £68m of that amount was invested in products promoted by Avacade and AA and approximately £905,000 was invested into a fixed rate bond relating to a Brazilian property development. From these investments Avacade and AA earned commissions in the region of £10.8m.
Many of the underlying investments have failed or are in liquidation.
The High Court made an order in August 2020 against Avacade, AA, Craig Lummis, Lee Lummis and Raymond Fox to pay a total of £10,715,000 in restitution to those who transferred their pensions into SIPPs.
Today’s decision opens the way for the order to be enforced by the FCA by taking steps to recover monies from the Defendants, so that it can return them to the investors.
Any Avacade/AA customers who believe they may have lost money and have not previously been contacted by the FCA about this matter, should contact the FCA to provide their details.
Mark Steward, the FCA’s executive director of enforcement and market oversight, said: "The Court of Appeal decision vindicates the original decision and will help vindicate the rights of more than 2,000 investors who have lost pension money through the defendants’ conduct in leading them into these toxic and high risk investments."
In a statement, the Avacade parties said they will consider an appeal to the Supreme Court over the decision. Omid Khub of Zakery Khub Solicitors said: "We are now considering turning to the Supreme Court for much needed clarification in this case and in the hope to prevent others from inadvertently falling into an unclear regulatory trap.
"We note that Options SIPP have applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal the related judgment of the Court of Appeal in Adams. We will be advising our clients on their rights in relation to the same."