There is growing concern about Peter Moat and Sara Moat of Fast Pensions. There have been a number of Pensions Ombudsman’s determinations which expressed concerns about the maladministration of the unlicensed firm owned/run by the Moats.
One of these was reported by FT Adviser on 10th May 2017:
The article stated the Pensions Ombudsman had told Fast Pensions it must pay out a death benefit to the widow of a former client after the company was accused of purposely delaying payments and quoted the Ombudsman as saying: “We have dealt with a number of other cases recently involving Fast Pensions, where there have been continued failures to respond to requests.”
The Ombudsman went on to cite delays and maladministration on the part of Fast Pensions which caused much distress and inconvenience to the complainant. Apparently, Fast Pensions has failed to comment and Karen Johnston, Deputy Pensions Ombudsman, has said: “We have dealt with a number of other cases recently involving Fast Pensions, where there have been continued failures to respond to requests and payment/transfer applications. Fast Pensions has also failed to communicate effectively with this office.”
A number of very distressed and worried members of the Fast Pensions scheme have contacted me and asked me to help them find out why they can’t transfer their pensions out (as is their statutory right). I filled in the contact form on the Fast Pensions website (there was no address, email or contact number on the site) and was contacted by James Porter. He told me that after some administrative problems in 2016, he had been appointed in January 2017 to look after the pension queries for Fast Pensions.
He also said he was dealing with all the members and the Ombudsman. However, the members have claimed Porter takes days to respond and that Fast Pensions have failed to pay compensation they were awarded and to facilitate transfers out.
Porter’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and Fast Pensions have just changed their postal address from PO Box 4385 08121954: Companies House Default Address Cardiff CF14 8LH to Crown House 27 Old Gloucester Street London WC1N 3AX on 18 May 2017. This is a virtual office with thousands of companies registered there and nowhere near where Porter appears to be based in Manchester or where Moat is based in Javea, Alicante, Spain. There is nothing wrong with using a virtual address – I use a UK one myself as I am resident in Spain. But then I don’t run a pension scheme and the members suspect – perfectly understandably – there has been a deliberate attempt to make it difficult to contact anyone at Fast Pensions.
When we spoke a week or so ago, Porter – a very personable gentleman – assured me he was dealing with everything assiduously and that there would soon be a contact number and address so that worried members could contact the company. He told me there were about 400 members in total and he reassured me that the assets of the schemes were unregulated long-term loans held within bonds. What I relief! He said he would be sending out a newsletter to update all those who are so anxious to know whether their pensions are safe and are desperate for news as to when they can transfer out. Unsurprisingly, nobody has any confidence in the custodianship of their pensions.
There are a few worrying things about Fast Pensions – apart from the various Ombudsman’s determinations, the numerous worried members and reports of liberation and tax demands – and that is that Sara Moat resigned as a director on 17.3.17 and then a Sara Grace Moat (with the same date of birth) was appointed as a director on 6.4.17. Sara, or Sara Grace, is also director of Fast Enrolment of Gilbert Wakefield House Bewsey Street Warrington WA2 7JQ.
Peter Daniel Moat and Sara Grace Moat have been involved in a string of businesses called Blu somethingsomething… Blu Debt, Blu Property, Blu Property Group, Blu Financial Services of Cinnamon House, Cinnamon Park, Crab Lane, Fearnhead, Warrington WA2 0XP etc. As director of Blu Debt, Peter Moat introduced one victim to Stephen Ward’s Ark pension scam – and charged him £500 for “advice”.
The Moats also have a business in Javea called DEYSE INVESTMENTS SL plus Blu Holding Group, Desinplot, Desysins, Deysecomunic, Deyserents, El Arenal de Deyse, Property Exchange. I feel exhausted just thinking about running so many businesses and think I can understand why Fast Pensions has not received the attention it deserves when the Moats have so many other ventures – all based in Javea, Spain. The address for some of these businesses is Avenida la Llibertat 31, Javea 03730, Alicante. But who knows – it could equally be somewhere in Moraira at Stephen Ward’s office, or at LettersRUs next to Barclays Bank.
I have asked James Porter who the trustees are and for a complete schedule of the scheme assets. Many of the members suspect that Mr. Porter is actually Peter Moat. If this is true, then it is hard to understand why he would hide behind his pregnant wife. When their baby is born – and I do of course wish them well – I hope they will be more decisive about names than Sara Moat is with her directorships on Companies House.
Meanwhile, there are 400 people worried sick about their pensions. And I am concerned that the track record which is in the public domain in both the UK and Spain does not inspire confidence – neither does the Moats’ inability to spell the word “blue”. Further, the fact that the underlying assets of the scheme are unregulated loans and that the trustees are an unknown entity.
Nice as James Porter was when we spoke by phone, and sincere/reassuring as he sounded, I am afraid this has undeniably got all the hallmarks of a typical, bog standard scam. It looks, sounds, feels, smells like a scam. The victims are not stupid. Neither is the Pensions Ombudsman. The jury is out on the Pensions Regulator. I still wish and hope that it is not a scam and that the victims will be able to safely transfer out their pensions and receive their awarded compensation without further delay.