Independent Portfolio Managers gets last-minute reprieve, status of compensation payments still unknown

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Four days before it was due to be dissolved over its failure to file annual accounts with Companies House, Independent Portfolio Managers has had the strike-off action against it suspended.

The reason the action has been suspended is not known for certain, but the most likely reason is an objection by a creditor. If IPM had been dissolved, all its assets (if any) would have become property of the UK Government.

As I previously covered, in July and August IPM was ordered by the Financial Ombudsman to compensate three investors in Secured Energy Bonds for its failings in producing Secured Energy Bonds’ literature, and for giving a false impression that Secured Energy Bonds were more secure than other unregulated corporate loan notes.

Since August 1st, no further decisions have been published by the Ombudsman relating to Independent Portfolio Managers, despite the numerous similar cases that potentially exist against IPM for its role in Secured Energy Bonds and Providence Bonds. Three potential explanations for this are:

  • those were the only three investors who complained (I find this a bit unlikely given the number of investors who lost money in the aforementioned bonds, who have a well-organised action group)
  • other Financial Ombudsman cases against IPM are still in the queue or being reviewed
  • IPM has given up contesting cases against it at Ombudsman level. Financial Ombudsman cases are initially judged by an adjudicator, after which the losing party can request a review by an ombudsman. A case is only published publicly at if it goes to ombudsman level. If the decision of the adjudicator is accepted by the losing party, it remains unpublished.

The investor action group has declined to comment on whether any investors have actually received payouts from Independent Portfolio Managers. Ostensibly their spokesman did not wish to discuss the matter with an anonymous writer. I have to wonder if the fact that I have a downer on their prospects of eventually being compensated by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme may also have something to do with it.

Independent Portfolio Managers Limited remains overdue with its annual accounts and Companies House may resume the strike-off process at a later date. The directors are in theory also open to criminal charges for failing to comply with their legal duties.

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