HOW THE LONDON QUANTUM PENSION SCAM WORKED
The London Quantum pension scam was the brainchild of Stephen Ward. Ward’s firm Dorrixo Alliance was the trustee and administrator of the scheme. Dorrixo was also trustee for a number of other pension liberation scams such as Headforte and Southlands which were used for “loans” when Evergreen got removed from the HMRC QROPS list.
London Quantum victims were promised “healthy” returns and the scheme is now in the hands of Dalriada Trustees who were appointed by the Pensions Regulator in 2015.
THE IDENTITY OF THE MAIN PLAYERS
Stephen Ward of Dorrixo Alliance (trustee/administrator)
Viva Costa International
HOW THE MAIN PLAYERS WERE INVOLVED
Ward’s Dorrixo Alliance was the trustee/administrator. Gerard Associates https://www.gerardassociates.co.uk/ (website undergoing “routine maintenance”) provided (or didn’t provide) advice. VCI were the introducers.
WHAT THE PENSIONS REGULATOR SAID ABOUT THE SCAM
TPR gave Stephen Ward a stern “dressing down” over the London Quantum scam and warned all pension savers to be extra careful when considering transferring away from their existing pension, after publishing details of governance failings in the London Quantum Retirement Benefit Scheme.
The London Quantum pension scam brought into sharp focus how people should remember that promises of high and/or guaranteed investment returns that sound too good to be true are often scams.
While investigating this scam, the regulator discovered that more than £5.8 million worth of victims’ pension funds had been put at risk between August 2014 and May 2015.
Nicola Parish, Director of Case Management at TPR, said: “The concerns we received about the scheme highlighted worrying factors regarding its governance.
“This case should act as a reminder to all savers, pension scheme trustees and administrators to remain alert to the dangers of transferring pension savings in order to access unrealistically high returns often associated with exotic sounding investment opportunities.”
TPR reported that, as trustee, Dorrixo – run by Stephen Ward and his sidekick Anthony Salih, had a “serious disregard to the obvious risks that members might be misled about the true nature of the investments held by the scheme”. The regulator also exposed other aspects to Ward’s scam which included:
- Risky and illiquid investments
- Lack of documentation
- Introducer fees – The scam was promoted to victims by introducers and cold callers, who were paid up to 30%.
- Advisers – There was no auditor was appointed to the scheme and Stephen Ward did not take proper advice on the investments.
Clearly, the London Quantum scam was never set up for the benefit and in the interests of the victims, but in the interests of Stephen Ward and his team of scammers to earn the maximum amount of commission out of the toxic, illiquid, high-risk investments.