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Banned: Wolverhampton financial advisor cost his clients millions

By John Corser | Wolverhampton | Business | Published:

A financial advisor has been banned for eight years after his firm provided poor pension investment advice, resulting in clients losing £7 million.

Vamplew Charles Ltd was incorporated in August 1999 before the company changed its name to Blakemore Wealth Management Limited, in March 2012.

Gerard Charles Vamplew Blakemore, aged 71, was the sole director of Blakemore Wealth Management and the company was authorised to provide investment advice around self invested personal pensions schemes.

Blakemore Wealth Management traded out of Mr Blakemore’s home, in Wolverhampton, and between April 2012 and October 2018 the company invested funds on behalf of 34 clients.

However, it entered into creditors voluntary liquidation in October 2018, which was brought to the attention of the Insolvency Service due to the substantial losses the firm caused its clients.

Following further enquiries, investigators uncovered that Mr Blakemore, an authorised financial advisor, had caused Blakemore Wealth Management to invest customers’ funds in high-risk schemes without carrying out adequate enquiries about their suitability.

Uncovered

Clients had originally been aware what their funds were being invested in. However, Mr Blakemore knowingly breached the terms of a 2012 Intermediary Agreement with a self-invested personal pension operator when he caused Blakemore Wealth Management to invest £8.3m of client funds without their knowledge in an unregulated overseas firm.

Of the money invested, only £607,500 was repaid to Blakemore Wealth Management’s clients. Investigators uncovered that Mr Blakemore was a director of the overseas company from July 2017. Further enquiries proved he had personally benefited from the unsuitable investments and at no point did Mr Blakemore disclose the payments to his clients or seek their agreement.

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He paid himself more than £247,000 through remuneration, dividends and benefits via commissions the company received.

Mr Blakemore also caused the company to transfer funds from client investments totalling around £2.1m to another company registered overseas, of which he was a director from July 2017, and Gerard Blakemore received £1.7m.

As of February 24, Mr Blakemore is disqualified from being a company director for eight years after he signed a disqualification undertaking in which he did not dispute that he had breached his duties as a director of Blakemore Wealth Management.

Dave Elliott, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: "Gerard Blakemore was entrusted with millions of pounds to invest in legitimate pension investment schemes. The Wolverhampton director, however, totally disregarded his clients’ interest and caused substantial losses when he invested £8m in unsuitable products.

"Eight years is a significant ban and removing Gerard Blakemore from the corporate arena will protect investors from further harm due to his poor investment advice."

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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