Thousands of QROPS retirement savers are wondering about the future of their offshore pensions after one provider closed and another saw the CEO arrested.
Alan Kentish, CEO of STM Group was arrested by police in Gibraltar, where the company is based.
The news was confirmed in a statement by the company.
Kentish was arrested with another STM employee over an alleged tax dispute involving a company of which he was a director.
Both denied the allegations and were released without charge.
Business as normal
STM said that at the time Kentish was unaware of the dispute, but on finding out followed compliance procedures by filing two suspicious activity reports with the company’s money laundering reporting officer.
These reports were then sent to the Gibraltar Financial Intelligence Unit, which failed to respond within 14 days, so STM continued business as normal.
“The advice received by Kentish and by STM is that the allegations have no merit,” STM said.
“Accordingly, the board of STM is fully supportive of Kentish’s actions in relation to this matter. Furthermore, the board of STM is profoundly disappointed with the current situation and is confident the matter will be resolved in Kentish’s favour in the very near future.”
STM has also announced business as normal and plans to leave Gibraltar.
Meanwhile, the company suspended share trading on the London AIM for two days while signing an agreement to take over Malta QROPS provider Harbour Pensions.
The deal adds Harbour’s 1,600 QROPS customers to STM’s 7,500 expat retirement savers, giving the company an 8% market share.
Elsewhere, QROPS advisers Continental Wealth Management closed at the start of October leaving 500 clients and up to £50 million of assets under management allegedly at risk.
Financial services consumer champion Pension-Life says many clients are concerned that their investments were shrinking rapidly.
CWM was based on the Costa Blanca, Spain, and dealt with many British expats in Spain.
“It has now become clear that in fact many clients have indeed suffered catastrophic losses and there is a very great deal of concern,” says the Pension-Life blog.
“One client was taken into hospital in September with a brain haemorrhage and her husband fears that the distress of this situation has contributed to this life-threatening condition.”