Blackmore Bond – yet another reason why only regulated advisers should be used for investment advice.
The clear link between the recently-failed LCF Bond and Blackmore Bond through Surge Group remind us how important regulated investment advisers are.
In the news again is the troubled Blackmore Group. This time we read that they have ‘temporarily’ closed their bond – the Blackmore Bond – to new business. Just a few weeks ago, Blackmore Bond changed the wording of the sales material on this product.
This new transparency revealed costs of 20% and the high risks involved in the bond. Prior to this, these details were well hidden in the small print.
The Blackmore Bond transparency was not due to Blackmore Group having a yearning desire to be honest with their victims. It was all down to new FCA rules for being “clear, fair and not misleading” whenever an investment is promoted.
Recently, there has been a lot of media coverage on high-cost, high-risk bond investments failing. One of these is London Capital & Finance (LCF). This unregulated bond collapsed and went into administration earlier in 2019. £236 million had been invested into it. But investors had not been warned of the costs and risks involved. Of this £236 million, over £50 million was paid to Surge Group for promotional and marketing services.
1,200 victims duped into investing in the LCF bond
have lost at least 80% of their money
Fortunately for investors in the Blackmore Bond, it is still active. However, with such high promotional and marketing costs, the bond needs to be very successful indeed to overcome the initial 20% charges – most of which were paid to Surge.
In relation to the closure of their bond, Blackmore Group state on their website:
“We have achieved our fundraising goals for this tax year and are not currently taking in new investment. We will be introducing our next offering in the following tax year, so please watch this space for future announcements.“
Another questionable investment from the Blackmore Group is the Blackmore Global Fund.
The Blackmore Global Fund has been heavily criticised and also featured on BBC 4 You and Yours. The fund saw 1,000 victims conned into this expensive, illiquid and high-risk UCIS. It is illegal to promote UCIS funds to retail investors in the UK. They are certainly not suitable investments for a pension fund.
David Vilka of Square Mile International Financial Services was one of the promoters of the Blackmore Global Fund. Vilka invested many of his UK-resident clients into this unsuitable fund. Undoubtedly, he was paid fat commissions for these investments. Unregulated and unqualified, Vilka was no doubt lining his own pockets, instead of doing what was best for his clients.
Vilka lied to his clients, claiming to be fully regulated. He transferred his UK-based victims’ pensions into the Optimus Retirement Benefit Scheme No.1 QROPS. Much of this money was invested into the Blackmore Global fund.
The connection between Blackmore Group’s Bond and London Capital & Finance (LCF) is Surge – a marketing agent. The LCF bond was promoted by Surge until it collapsed in December 2018.
After LCF collapsed, Surge went on to promote the Blackmore Bond. This promotion was done using ISA-rating websites.
London Capital & Finance is not the only failed investment in recent years. Other failures include Axiom with £120m worth of investors’ funds (£30m of which was with life offices FPI and OMI); LM £456m (£90m with FPI and OMI); and Premier New Earth (NERR) £207m (£62m with FPI and OMI).
The new transparency demanded by the FCA is much needed.
Unfortunately, it won’t change the fact that well over one billion pounds have been lost between LCF, Axiom, LM and NERR. We are still left wondering why the regulators have not taken a tougher stance on restricting the promotion of such UCIS funds. The FCA’s limp stance is especially worrying when the promoters of these high-risk bonds and funds are targeting UK retail investors.
All these failures and losses should remind both regulators and consumers that only regulated firms should be used for investment advice.
1 thought on “Blackmore Bond – yet another failed investment?”
Finally, a good write-up from the Newbie!
I am going to add to it – you wouldn’t expect anything less!
“Recently, there has been a lot of media coverage on high-cost, high-risk bond investments failing. ” True.
The wolves – journalists – are smelling blood now. I have been approached by a very large national newspaper recently for the shed load of evidence I have on Nunn & McCreesh’s Blackmore Global fund, along with Ferguson & Vilka – of Square Mile International Financial – that between them transferred my pension into their own unregulated funds using fraudulent misrepresentations, for their own enrichment.
The wolves are looking for evidence of criminal activity on the one hand and also questioning the impotency of the FCA to curb this plague and protect investors.
The spectacular collapse of London Capital & Finance (LCF), which has now been declared a Ponzi scheme – https://bondreview.co.uk/2019/03/27/london-capital-finance-was-a-ponzi-scheme-administrators-confirm/ – is made all the more high profile because its promoter, Surge Financial Ltd, owned by Paul Careless, has effectively been paying Johnny Mercer, MP for Plymouth Moor View, £85k per annum for just 20 hours work a month as a non-executive director of Crucial Academy.
Surge Financial are also described as a strategic partner of Blackmore Bond Plc according to their financial report published last year.
Angie reported last year on a “bait & switch” tactic by Careless who attempted to con Kent Police so that Blackmore could state on its website they were the “Proud supporters of the Kent Police Rugby Team” – https://pension-life.com/blackmore-bond-shaken-not-stirred-careless-or-stupid/
Blackmore’s profile is raised yet higher by the fact that Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley & Renfrewshire North, raised a question in the House – https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2019-03-14/debates/F2A0FEF5-5B87-4986-8709-D67FB7F0CC90/BusinessOfTheHouse?highlight=blackmoor#contribution-9199AA67-BC12-4EFD-8872-176AD5E62698 – because his “… constituent invested her £60,000 life savings in London Capital & Finance and had put £20,000 in a similar company called Blackmoor(sic)…” – note the word “similar”.
There is much speculation that Blackmore is LCF 2.0
That Blackmore is closed to new subscriptions to its bond is troubling given the auditors of the financial report drew attention to Blackmore’s dependency on £1.5m new subscriptions per month to meet its contractually committed fees and said there was a material uncertainty as to the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.
I have given a ton of hard evidence to the wolves who plan to run it by their lawyers to see if any of it amounts to criminal activity. They may not do anything with it but I hope they do because I would love nothing more than to see these sharks go down – especially the arrogant Ferguson and his sidekick Vilka, who tried to shut me up with a pathetic £6000 – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-42776709 – I will not be silenced by these bar-stewards!