1. Stephen
    July 25, 2018 @ 5:06 am

    I am a fully qualified and approved driving instructor. This means I am on the DVSA Register of approved driving instructors (ADI) – similar to the FCA register for IFA’s, and I have to pay for being on that register. There were 3 tests I had to pass to get on the register and I undergo regular standards checks to stay on that register. It is illegal for anyone to give driving instruction and charge for it unless they are on that register and the DVSA does hunt out and prosecute illegal instruction. This is to ensure that the public are only taught by persons who have demonstrated at least a minimum standard and continue to maintain at least that minimum standard – instructors are graded and some demonstrate higher than the minimum – and there is a badge I am legally required to display when giving lessons.

    If a person passes the Advanced Driving Test and pays their membership fee to the Institute of Advanced Motorists they still CANNOT legally give driving instruction for recompense (money or gifts of any kind) unless they pass the DVSA driving instruction tests and are put on the register of approved instructors. Passing one driving test does not prove you can “teach it” to others or meet the other core competencies – the DVSA instructor tests are more than just a driving test and btw 7 out of 10 fail them!

    This sounds very similar to what these scammers are doing. They are passing some exams at a basic level and then claiming this makes them qualified to advise on anything.

    It doesn’t seem like rocket science for the same to apply to IFA’s as it does to ADI’s. It is of little use to the average person whether a person has level 3,4, 5, 6 or whatever unless the client knows what it means – which we don’t! We rely on regulatory agencies like the FCA to know what it means and grant permission for the IFA to give advice on certain things. That the FCA register makes it difficult for ordinary people to discover what an IFA is permitted to do is a different issue right now. The point is, it should be legislated and a criminal offence to give advice, for remuneration of any kind, outside your quals AND if not on the FCA register, as it is for driving instructors.

    If this were the case I would simply be able to report the low-life, despicable turd – https://pension-life.com/david-vilkas-vile-us-attorney/ – that advised my pension be transferred to the “introducer’s unregulated fund” – https://pension-life.com/blackmore-global-fund-asset-liability-black-hole/ – regardless of my best interest but purely because that was his business plan – https://pension-life.com/not-so-square-mile-and-far-from-lilly-white/ – and then they wouldn’t be so blasé about it – https://pension-life.com/action-fraud-nobody-no-authority-john-ferguson-square-mile-financial-services/ – if they served time for it and got a criminal record they could put on their LinkedIn profile – haha!!

    Likewise all the other evil con artists purporting to be experts at anything other than conning people – which they are very good at! I really dislike these thoroughly unpleasant individuals – can you tell?


  2. Ian
    July 25, 2018 @ 2:20 pm

    Angie, you are being too soft and kind in your wording in this article.

    If one doesn’t pay the membership fee, one don’t have the qualification…..period.

    Quite a few years ago I worked alongside a particularly lazy, negative individual who was disciplined and dismissed for claiming to have professional qualifications he did not have. The qualifications were not even required for his role but the employer’s decision to dismiss him was obviously completely right.

    There can be no quicker way of bringing a business into disrepute than to allow employees to go around brandishing qualifications they do not have. Words absolutely fail me……


    • Angie
      July 25, 2018 @ 2:23 pm

      Interestingly, the firms we are reviewing don’t come forward to assure us that their staff are indeed qualified and will be renewing their memberships. But you are right that we are trying to be soft and kind – for now 🙂


  3. Stephen
    July 25, 2018 @ 5:03 pm

    It is possible you’re being soft but I cannot stress this enough, and I do keep stressing it, from BITTER experience – Regulation is the KEY.

    It is IRRELEVANT how qualified a person is if they ARE NOT regulated to give the advice they are giving. I learned this from bitter experience! The regulation comes with a PROTECTION for the investor in the form of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which whilst limited to £50k is better than ZERO! This is because a person that is regulated PAYS INTO that compensation scheme as part of the regulation.

    An UNREGULATED adviser – however qualified – BARS you from accessing the FSCS AND Ombudsman services!!

    If a person has the appropriate qualification(s) their regulatory status will show what the permitted services they can provide and IF they fail in that advice YOU, the client, gets access to FSCS and Ombudsman services. This is crucial, regardless of the qualifications or “institutes they belong to”!!!

    The adviser can be the most qualified and expert person in the world but if he has turned “rogue” – because there is a lot of money in being a scammer – and uses his qualification to scam you by not paying for the appropriate regulatory status then YOU still LOSE OUT!

    DON’T get hung up on QUALIFICATIONS – regulatory status gives you the much desired added PROTECTION!!!


    • Angie
      July 25, 2018 @ 5:32 pm

      I agree with Stephen – but there is a big BUT. There are still firms with advisers which are qualified to a high standard, and have full regulation, and which are still crooks who defraud their clients. So although qualifications and regulations are very important, things can still go wrong. Depressing, I know, but true – sadly.


  4. Charles
    July 31, 2018 @ 10:09 am

    What is it with the qualified and registered blogs that have you all losing your s***t ! I have colleagues coming up to me asking first thing in the morning have you seen the Pension life blog today like giddy schoolchildren. You lot are highlighting the worst of the industry and the few bad apples has certainly not spoilt the bunch.The only winner out of this is the owner of the blog guys not the industry so get a grip.


    • Clean Up
      July 31, 2018 @ 1:58 pm

      You have hit the nail on the head with the comment about industry. Should your industry not be a profession?

      If you want to maintain the integrity of your industry/profession can you weed out your own bad apples rather than leaving it to the victims, regulators and action groups? Don’t employ them, don’t sell unregulated products, don’t work with pension and investment companies with a poor track record.


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