Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Alleged corruption in the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading

The following letter speaks for itself:

Open letter to Mr. P. Gelling – Acting Chief Officer of the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading (OFT)

Copies to: The Chief Officer of the OFT: Mr. N. Black – The Chairmen of the OFT: Mr. W. Henderson The Chief Minister: Mr. A. Brown and other interested parties.

28th October 2009

Dear Mr. Gelling

Open Letter - Corruption in the Isle of Man Office of Fair Trading

The OFT has deprived pensioners of their legal rights by rejecting complaints that the directors of the Premier Low Risk Fund plc (the Fund) dispensed misleading advice in the course of marketing the Fund to the public.

Your office is in receipt of evidence – upheld by a High Court ruling and Financial Services Authority (FSA) adjudications – in support of allegations that the Fund’s directors obtained bank transfers by deception. Yet the OFT continues to reject the pensioner’s complaints.

The ‘ombudsman office’ does not employ an ‘ombudsman’, and on matters concerning the misselling of financial products the office relies on FSA rulings/adjudications as a guiding reference.

To facilitate this process, and as a service to the consumer advice sector, the FSA regularly display their rulings in the ‘Ombudsman News’. A publication which is known to the OFT.

To demonstrate a case against the Fund’s directors – a case which the OFT refuses to address – please find attached extracts from the FSA publication relating to dispensing misleading advice and the unfair imposition of MVAs.

Complaints about the Fund director’s advice include:-

- Advising pensioners that the fund provided capital security and guarantees. Untrue advice
- Advising pensioners that the Fund could provide a regular quarterly income. Untrue advice
- Advising pensioners that the Fund’s investment strategy is low-risk. The FSA and a High Court confirm that the investment strategy is high-risk. Untrue advice
- Failing to advise pensioners that a MVA, without limited in size and duration, may be applied when the pensioners attempt to rescue their savings.
- Enhancing the Fund’s market appeal by disclosing minor ‘exit charges’ in a highly visible, self-explanatory tabulation - and failing to similarly disclose any other charge.

Because passports were required in the application process the directors knew that pensioners were amongst those receiving this misleading advice and this resulted in them being unwittingly deceived into transferring their life savings to a long term, high-risk fund, not capable of providing regular income and liable to an MVA unlimited in amount and duration. All features not fit for pensioners.

Despite this the OFT have used a variety of devices to trick pensioners into believing that the directors conduct was legally acceptable. The OFT’s denials are now exposed and after delaying matters six years the office is now resorting to another tactic by quoting the Financial Services Act 2008 which states:

“The OFT shall decline or cease to act under paragraph 1(3) where it appears to it that the dispute was referred to it under paragraph 1(2) in any case, more than 6 years after that act or omission”.

A statute of limitations cannot apply to the matter of obtaining pensioner’s life savings by deception.

The OFT’s handling of this case is dishonest and apparently a calculated attempt to protect the Fund’s directors.

Someone in your department should summon the courage to report this matter to an authority with the competence to investigate allegations of corruption in the OFT ombudsman’s office.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Who will guard the guards?

Pensioners Campaigning for Truth and Justice
Contact us: e-mail: PSA350@orange.es or telephone (0034) 950 39 20 38

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