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Aylsham couple describe how pensions and savings were ruined by crooked financial advisors

PUBLISHED: 08:04 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 12:55 13 March 2018

Garry Todd of Aylsham who lost his pension and savings to Taylor and Taylor financial advisers, who have admitted fraud. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Garry Todd of Aylsham who lost his pension and savings to Taylor and Taylor financial advisers, who have admitted fraud. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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When Arlene and Garry Todd opened their pension statement in 2015 they thought there was a typo.

Garry Todd of Aylsham who lost his pension and savings to Taylor and Taylor financial advisers, who have admitted fraud. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYGarry Todd of Aylsham who lost his pension and savings to Taylor and Taylor financial advisers, who have admitted fraud. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Their account had halved in value; £63,000 was gone.

Two years of sleepless nights followed, while they waited to see if they would get their money back – and if the financial advisors who scammed them would be brought to justice.

That day finally came on Tuesday when their financial advisors, brothers Alan and Russell Taylor pleaded guilty to fraud.

The Todds, from Jannys Close, Aylsham, were one of 239 customers of the brothers’ firm who had their money transferred into a high-risk scheme without their knowledge.

Financial advisers Alan Taylor, left, and Russell Taylor, who have been charged with fraud, leaving Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFinancial advisers Alan Taylor, left, and Russell Taylor, who have been charged with fraud, leaving Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The investments collapsed in value, wiping out almost half 
of customers’ savings and pensions.

The Todds had been with Hoveton firm, Taylor and Taylor Associates Ltd, for 25 years and found Alan Taylor charming.

“We trusted him,” Mrs Todd, 66, said.

Mr Todd, 65, retired early in 2011, aged 58, and sold his business, D&J Autos.

Financial advisers Alan Taylor, left, and Russell Taylor, who have been charged with fraud, leaving Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFinancial advisers Alan Taylor, left, and Russell Taylor, who have been charged with fraud, leaving Norwich Crown Court. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The grandfather-of-four put the money into his account with Taylor and Taylor, having carefully worked out how much pension he would need.

But the fraud blew his calculations apart.

“I just used to think; we have done everything right,” Mrs Todd said. “We worked hard and paid taxes and saved for a pension.

“Then someone can come along and fleece you.

“It is constantly on your mind and you are constantly angry because you can not do anything.”

Alan Taylor, 38, of St Stephen’s Road, Norwich, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud from 2008 to 2015 at Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday. Russell Taylor, 37, of Trunch Road, Mundesley, admitted to the same count.

“We have been praying for his day to come,” Mrs Todd said.

But they have not got back all of the money, leaving them around £20,000 out of pocket.

They had two accounts with Taylor and Taylor - a pension and a joint savings account.

Mr Todd got the vast majority of his pension back.

But as the joint savings were in his and his wife’s name, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) only paid out his wife’s share of the savings.

Only one claim could be put in for each customer.

•What the regulator did

Watchdog the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) stripped Taylor and Taylor Associates of authorisation in 2016, meaning the firm could no longer carry out “regulated activities”.

That includes giving financial advice on pensions and investments.

The brothers’ other company used in the scam, Vantage Investment Group, is still authorised by the FCA. But the regulator put severe restrictions on it in November 2015.

That stopped it doing

any activity regulated by the FCA.

The company was also told to transfer money back to clients and not withdraw or transfer any client money without FCA approval.

It was also barred from paying money to its shareholders or getting rid of company assets.

Russell and Alan Taylor, meanwhile, are still registered with the FCA.

An FCA spokesman said they could not comment on individuals.

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