Intelligent Money, a SIPP Provider, Agrees to FCA Asset Restriction

By Published On: 31 May 2024

Sipp provider Intelligent Money, headquartered in Nottingham, has agreed to a restriction imposed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) that limits its ability to manage its own assets. This measure, implemented in February 2024, prevents the company from freely disposing of, withdrawing, or diminishing the value of any of its assets without prior written consent from the FCA.

While day-to-day business operations can continue, with payments capped at £20,000, the restriction aims to ensure Intelligent Money prioritises potential redress liabilities owed to consumers. This comes amidst a surge of complaints against the firm, with over 80 currently being handled by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

The specifics of these complaints remain confidential, but an earlier FOS decision in February sheds light on potential issues. The ruling found that Intelligent Money failed to conduct thorough due diligence on certain high-risk investments offered within their SIPPs.

The case centered on two specific entities: Greyfriars, a collapsed discretionary fund manager, and Active Wealth, a firm led by Darren Reynolds who was previously sanctioned by the FCA for unsuitable pension transfer advice. The FOS determined that Intelligent Money neglected proper due diligence checks, both initially and on an ongoing basis, ultimately failing to meet regulatory obligations and prevent the unsuitable transactions. As a consequence, the Sipp provider was ordered to compensate the client for investment losses, amounting to a maximum of £160,000.

This asset restriction serves as a cautionary tale for Sipp providers and highlights the FCA’s commitment to consumer protection. It’s worth noting that in December 2023, Intelligent Money faced backlash from advisors after proposing a 1% fee increase, which was subsequently cancelled.

The firm caters to both advised and non-advised clients. For the latter, Intelligent Money offers investment portfolios managed by P1 Investment Management. In June 2023, the company informed non-advised clients of a reclassification process, transitioning them to direct client status and terminating advisor fees.

Intelligent Money has historically attracted advisors with its competitive annual fee of £195 (as of 2023). However, the firm’s current financial health remains unclear due to the filing of abbreviated accounts for the most recent financial year. The FCA has declined to comment on the matter.

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Written by : HTLEGAL

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