Insurance agent was only regulated to sell insurance and mortgage products

An insurance broker who illegally provided pensions advice has been banned from practising for seven years.

Ivor Jenkins, 54, ran an insurance and mortgage intermediary from Widnes, Cheshire. But after his company Optimum Financial Solutions ran into financial difficulties from 2015 he set up a pension scheme called Optimum Retirement Benefits Plan (ORBP) in a bid to attract additional revenue.

The problem was, he and his firm were only regulated to sell insurance and mortgage products, and he was therefore operating illegally.

The Insolvency Service launched an undercover investigation after complaints were received, and his company was wound up in June 2018. Jenkins was found to have received a lump sum of £50,000 and monthly payments of £5,000.

Further investigation found that Optimum “had not kept adequate records”, nor provided information to the tax authorities and was derelict in its duty to provide ORPB’s members with up to date information, such as personal statements.

Jenkins insisted he was not personally involved in promoting the pensions scheme, but an investigation by the Pensions Regulator proved otherwise. It was at this stage that it was found neither he nor anyone else in his company was regulated to provide pensions advice to customers.

Commenting on the case, official receiver Ken Beasley said: ”Having worked in the highly regulated insurance industry, Ivor Jenkins should have known that there are stringent guidelines when it comes to administering a pension scheme.

”He gained personally from allowing his company to administer the pension scheme, while members were left in the dark about their savings, and for that we welcome this disqualification which seriously curtails his ability to run a limited company.”