Sector Focus


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FCA succeed in claim against unregulated pension advisory services to consumer

Pinsent Masons becomes a ‘purpose-led business’

Law firm Pinsent Masons says it will no longer be judged just on its financial performance, according to its annual report. The firm, which has offices in Birmingham, has changed into a ‘purpose-led business’, which means it measures its success against four metrics based around staff and client attitude, community work and commercial success, such as revenue growth and profit. As part of its ‘communities

By Stephen Rome, director, Dispute Resolution

After a 10 day trial the High Court handed down judgment in the case involving claims by the FCA against Avacade Limited (in Liquidation), Alexandra Associates (UK) Limited trading as Avacade Future Solutions and their directors, Craig Lummis, Lee Lummis and Raymond Fox. The companies provided a

pension report service which the FCA alleged made misleading statements inducing consumers to transfer their pensions to self- invested personal pensions (SIPPs) which was then invested into alternative investments including tree plantations and Brazilian property. More than 2,000 consumers

transferred over £90m from their pensions into SIPPs. The subsequent alternative investments largely failed albeit the companies made over £10m in commission in the process. The case sadly highlights the

dangers of using unregulated firms. Adam Johnson QC (sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge) found there had been breaches of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (“FSMA”) including section 21 (restrictions on financial promotions) section 397, and later section 90 of the Financial Services Act 2012 (prohibitions on the making of statements in the promotion of financial services which are false or misleading). The individual directors were all “knowingly concerned” in those breaches. The FCA is now seeking orders

against the directors and companies to pay restitution. The Defendants are seeking permission to appeal the High Court Decision.

Please contact Stephen Rome if you have suffered loss through unregulated advice on 0121 726 8782 or

60 CHAMBERLINK October 2020

metric’, the business has reduced its energy consumption by 30 per cent since 2014, beating its 2020 target of 20 per cent. The firm also reduced energy

consumption per occupied sq ft by 12 per cent, with all of its UK offices now running on renewable energy. Pinsent Masons says it has also

received ‘rave reviews’ from clients, which determined the standards of service and advice it gives as ‘extremely’ or ‘very satisfactory’, and has also made progress with equality and diversity.

‘The pandemic has accelerated a cultural and behavioural shift across the business community’

Pinsent Masons was named a top

‘inclusive employer’ by LGBT charity Stonewall in a workplace equality survey, and also launched the ‘Spark Board’, comprised of junior members of the firm, in a bid to boost management diversity. Additionally, the firm remained

John Cleland: firm won’t be judged just on financial performance

financially healthy during 2019/2020, achieving and increase of four per cent in revenue. Pinsent managing partner John

Cleland said: "Our refreshed strategy commits us to measure and communicate performance and progress by reference to metrics that reflect our purpose and measure our impact on our colleagues, clients and communities. "The pandemic has accelerated a

cultural and behavioural shift across the business community. “We run the risk of alienating

clients and future recruits by judging success primarily by reference to turnover and equity pay. Those are probably the two metrics our current and future stakeholders care about the least. “It's time to start the process by

which we change that. The year ahead will present challenges the like of which we have not seen before. Despite obvious headwinds brought about by Covid-19, we're encouraged by the momentum we've found going into the new financial year.”

Corporate team helps firm secure six-figure investment

Law firm Shakespeare Martineau has secured a six- figure investment for clinical decision support system company Deontics, through the Government-backed Coronavirus Future Fund scheme. Deontics – based in London - produces artificial

intelligence-based software platforms and applications, to support medical professionals making clinical decisions. This latest investment will see the company

develop its technology and access new markets around the world. Acting on behalf of Deontics, Shakespeare

Martineau’s corporate partners Adam McGiveron and Emma Bryant advised on the application and the corporate structure ahead of the investment,

successfully securing a convertible loan from the Future Fund. Mr McGiveron said: “The Coronavirus Future

Fund is a Government backed scheme that provides matched funding of between £125,000 and £5m and is a great opportunity for businesses to boost their income and support development and growth. “Deontics is a truly exciting business and we

were pleased to help the company secure this new investment, which will help them to take their world leading technology to a wider market.” Deontic chairman James Whitticase said: “This

latest investment is an important stage in the development of our business and gives us a firm foundation for the next stage of our growth.”

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