Independent Portfolio Managers Limited hit the headlines due to its role in the promotion of two failed unregulated bond issuers – Secured Energy Bonds and Providence Bonds, both of which went bust and lost all the investors’ money.
In November last year the company agreed with the FCA to cease all regulated activities.
On 30 December, the date IPM’s accounts were due to be filed with Companies House, the company instead elected to extend its accounting period by the maximum six months. This means it will now not have to file updated accounts until 30 June 2018. UK companies are permitted to extend their accounting period by up to six months providing they are not already overdue and haven’t already done this in the last 5 years.
IPM is currently the subject of multiple Financial Ombudsman complaints in regard to its role in approving the literature issued by Secured Energy Bonds and Providence Bonds. Neither Secured Energy Bonds nor Providence Bonds were regulated, so the bonds could not legally have been promoted to investors without an FCA-regulated firm to approve their literature – which is where IPM came in.
The FOS said initially that it would not consider the complaints as the Secured Energy and Providence investors were not customers of IPM. However they reversed that stance in April 2017, and are currently considering the complaints. How close we are to the Ombudsman giving a verdict is unknown.
What is also increasingly unclear, thanks in part to IPM staving off the date it has to file it accounts, is whether IPM has sufficient resources to meet investor claims to any meaningful extent. In its last accounts (March 2016), now two years old, it declared net assets of £128k. Investors are believed to have lost a total of £15 million in Providence and Secured Energy bonds.
We await the outcome of the FOS cases with interest. In the meantime, investors in Providence Bonds and Secured Energy Bonds can contact the relevant Investor Action Group on firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Investors should be extremely wary of anyone who asks them for money and claims they can recover any part of their investment, and should read up on fraud recovery fraud. By all means consult a regulated reputable solicitor, but be wary of throwing good money after bad.