The government’s Insolvency Service banned Gerard Charles Vamplew Blakemore, 71, the sole director of Blakemore Wealth Management, a company authorised to provide investment advice on SIPPs.
His original firm, Vamplew Charles Limited, was incorporated in August 1999 before changing its name to Blakemore Wealth Management Limited in March 2012.
Blakemore Wealth Management traded from Mr Blakemore’s home in Wolverhampton and between April 2012 and October 2018 the company invested funds on behalf of 34 clients.
The company entered into creditors voluntary liquidation in October 2018, a change brought to the attention of the Insolvency Service due to substantial losses Blakemore Wealth Management caused its clients.
Investigators found that Mr Blakemore, an authorised financial adviser, had used Blakemore Wealth Management to invest customers’ funds in high-risk schemes without carrying out adequate enquiries about their suitability.
Clients had originally been aware what their funds were being invested in, said the Insolvency Service. However, Mr Blakemore knowingly breached the terms of a 2012 Intermediary Agreement with a Self-Invested Personal Pension operator when he caused Blakemore Wealth Management to invest £8.3m of client funds without their knowledge in an unregulated overseas company.
Of the money invested, only £607,500 was repaid to Blakemore Wealth Management’s clients and investigators uncovered that Mr Blakemore was a director of the overseas company from July 2017.
Further enquiries found that Mr Blakemore had personally benefited from these “unsuitable investments” and at no point did he disclose the payments to his clients or seek their agreement.
He paid himself more than £247,000 through remuneration, dividends and benefits via commissions the company received.
Mr Blakemore also used the company to transfer funds from client investments totalling around £2.1m to another company registered overseas, of which he was a director from July 2017, and received £1.7m as a result.
On 24 February Mr Blakemore was disqualified from being a company director for 8 years after he signed a disqualification undertaking in which he did not dispute that he had breached his duties as a director of Blakemore Wealth Management Ltd.
Dave Elliott, chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said: “Gerard Blakemore was entrusted with millions of pounds to invest in legitimate pension investment schemes. The Wolverhampton director, however, totally disregarded his clients’ interest and caused substantial losses when he invested £8m in unsuitable products. 8 years is a significant ban and removing Gerard Blakemore from the corporate arena will protect investors from further harm due to his poor investment advice.”