We now have confirmation of what was known all along. Trinitas Advisory is just Sinclair James under a different name.

Sinclair James was, of course, exposed as fraudulent, so needed a new vehicle for its activities. The website shows the partners as Graham Wilkes and Darren Brindle. Both lost huge amounts of their clients’ money when with Sinclair James. Wilkes is an undischarged UK bankrupt who would not be allowed to take a directorship in his own country.

You can check this out on Google. Michael Whiting’s name cannot be publicly associated with this venture as he is now just too toxic. Neither partner has recognized financial qualifications, their company is not properly regulated to do business in the Philippines and the products they are selling are illegal. You can check this with the SEC in Manila.

They are still pushing funds through Mauritius, where the lack of transparency allowed them to launder money back to themselves. You may ask how they manage to provide positive testimonials. They are obviously cherry picked, since nobody who they put into LM Managed Performance Fund, Royal London 360 and the other disastrous investments would give these people the time of day. Assuming these testimonials are genuine, there are a number of things to note.

There is a tendency for clients to think that the advisor is their friend, often because they met in a bar or social setting. Their salesmen are specifically tasked with meeting people in these environments. If a friend asks for a testimonial you will normally give it. Secondly, most of these people are relatively recent clients who joined after the 2008-9 bubble burst and just as the next one was beginning.

Since de-regulation in the mid-eighties clients have been put into a succession of bubbles (Black Monday 1987, Dot.com Bubble, Sub-prime Bubble, etc). That is the only way that the advisor and broker can make their cut before leaving peanuts for the client) And no, they aren’t disclosing the full commissions... These clients think they know what their pension is worth. They don’t.

You will only know when you come to take the money out. Sinclair James clients were always told that their funds were ticking along nicely but the valuations were not independent and were not accurate. These are products which are not conventionally traded, so any valuation is finger in the air. Problems were glossed over, especially the LM MPF collapse.

One of Wilkes’ clients reported that Wilkes just informed him this was "held" due to something not seemingly correct going on with the account. Another was assured that this was a temporary difficulty that would be sorted out. Don’t believe their story that one ex-employee is waging a vendetta against them. Many former clients have been ruined.

The most worrying thing is clients who seem satisfied that their previous pension schemes have been consolidated under QROPS. QROPS (Qualifying Recognized Overseas Pension Scheme) is a well-known scam that most of the cowboys in Asia were operating. Aegon consider that 80% of these schemes were scams (https://www.moneymarketing.co.uk/aegon-warns-80-of-overseas-pension-transfers-are-scams/) and Sinclair James certainly came into this category. The approach is to offer a review of your existing pensions.

They are so desperate to get you to switch that they contact your providers themselves. It doesn’t matter what the review shows. They tell you that you could get higher returns by switching, that the new scheme is UK government approved, that you are less restricted, that there are tax advantages and that you have peace of mind knowing everything is under one roof. In fact, these schemes are not government approved.

The government simply recognizes that it looks something like a pension, in that all money cannot be immediately be withdrawn and a certain percentage (about 70%) must go to the client. That leaves a lot to be taken as commission… You are less restricted in that they can now put you into high-risk investments, illegal in the UK. That is how Sinclair James clients and others around Asia lost their pension pots. The tax advantages depend on the country to which you retire and they are not guaranteed.

For example, Sinclair James recommended products to clients which would be refused in France, a popular retirement destination. Any fiscal advantages are easily eaten up by commissions. They even recommended switching to clients who had defined benefit schemes, where the provider carried all the risk. The switch passed all risk to the client and, rather than have everything consolidated under one roof, he found all his eggs in one very flimsy basket.

I have yet to meet anyone who thought QROPS was anything but a disaster. Unfortunately, there still appear to be some people believing the hype.

Review about: Sinclair James International Investment Service.

Reason of review: Bad quality.

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i read you guff, because that is all it is , you hide behind your keyboard , you clearly have an agenda ........i dont , i just hate w@nkers like you ,I know Wilkes and he is a kn@b no doubt on that , but show yourself , thought not , balls the size of peanuts , if you want to run someone down show your face.

to Anonymous #1418155

Nobody on these threads gives their real name. That includes you and the various aliases used by Sinclair James.

That doesn’t bother me, provided this isn’t a one man personal vendetta and providing allegations are backed up by credible independent evidence. I am not interested in personal slurs concerning alleged narcotic use, wife beating, sexual preferences or even your opinion that Graham Wilkes is a “***”.

This information obviously comes from a wide variety of sources. Former clients (who gave a long list of collapsed investments and names of salesmen), existing clients (who alerted people to the existence of Trinitas Advisory and the people behind it), legal experts, financial experts, former employees and other work colleagues.

I have not taken the evidence cited as gospel. I have investigated it - and it isn’t “guff”.

It’s true. Sinclair James/Trinitas Advisory were not authorized to do business, were selling illegal products and did not have the qualifications they claimed. Whiting is not a member of the ACII and Wilkes is an undischarged bankrupt. Whiting and his accountant were officers of the Ascenta funds, an unacceptable conflict of interests, and the Sinclair James website was a pack of lies.

We have been given details of the very high commissions taken (directly contradicting terms on the website), information on how clients’ signatures were forged, how salesmen were incentivized to sell Ascenta and explicit information on where the Ascenta money was transferred. Those details can only come from insiders.

Sinclair James have given no evidence to show the contrary, nor have they explained the false claims on their website. They have just attempted to shift blame onto a former employee then, when it became obvious this was impossible, they blamed his brother. Nor are these facts confined to Sinclair James/Trinitas Advisory.

We have also been alerted to another firm banned in Thailand and which has moved its operations to Manila. Again, the information is independently verified.

As for somebody’s “agenda”, the important thing is that potential clients should know what they’re getting into. Some people may be dissatisfied with the low interest rates available and may be willing to gamble discretionary income on high risk stocks which they know to be illegal. They may accept the risks of using people who have an abysmal track record and who will take several sets of commission even if they fail.

That is their choice.

The majority of people are looking for a safe long-term home for retirement funds. Certainly, that is what people in QROPS are looking for. They need to be aware that most of these schemes have independently been considered to be scams and they need to know how the scams work. Given the corrupt nature of institutions in the Philippines, I can understand whistle blowers not wanting to be identified.

Which of these facts do you dispute?

Why are they not relevant to potential investors? If the facts are both true and relevant what does it matter who presented them?

to Onlooker #1418226

snoooooooorrrrrrrreeeeeeee.........................go round to his office and sort him out , easier!

to Anonymous #1418487

So you haven’t denied any of the facts. The person you called a {{Redacted}} wasn’t talking “guff” at all.

Instead of diverting blame to a former employee, or his brother, you are now saying this really isn’t important. This is only boring to people who have a vested interest in continuing the scam.

It’s important to former clients who lost millions. They now know this wasn’t bad luck. It was an illegal set up where they were charged far more than they knew and where money was laundered back to the perpetrators.

It’s important to potential clients.

They now know they should beware anybody who offers to look after their money, especially if they meet in a social setting, if he’s British, if he recommends QROPS or routing your money through Mauritius. Sorry to Brits but it is mainly your countrymen who are pushing these schemes. They know that the Philippines is now one of the few countries not taking action against these people.

I’m not sure what you mean about going round to Wilkes to “sort him out”. Firstly, this is not just Wilkes.

It is Whiting, Brindle, Robbirt (who has moved his office from Bangkok to Manila) and other individuals in Metro Manila, Angeles or wherever expatriates gather.

I hope you are not advocating violence.

The Philippines has become a place where drive-by justice is being meted out summarily and someone in these threads stated that the only way to get justice is to take it yourself. The correct procedure is for people to keep informing the authorities until it is no longer possible for them to sidestep the issue.

Whoever the people are who have provided these facts, they should be congratulated for performing a public service.

to Anonymous #1425069

I'd like to slap your face from here to kingdom cum, then rub your face in it. It's Tossers like you that give this industry a bad rep. How long have you be pretending to be a Financial Advisor?

to KnickerSniffer #1426495

I’m not sure if Mr KnickerSniffer is ranting against the people who pretend to be Financial Advisors (Whiting, Wlkes, Brindle, etc) or against the group of former clients, experts and insiders who have exposed them. Let’s be clear:

The experts and insiders have quoted sources for their evidence which are independent and verifiable, Clients did lose millions of Dollars at the hands of these people.

They were unregulated, unqualified and placing money recklessly just to get commissions. There are regulations in the Philippines, most notably the Revised Securities Act, but they are not applied. It is very easy to influence regulators and purchase the decision you want in advance. That is why fraudsters who have been convicted in other countries are now relocating to Manila.

Here is some very simple advice (which you are free to disregard).

If you are a genuine IFA, report these fraudsters to the SEC, BIR, your Congressman or the British Embassy – and make sure something is done. You know who they are because they are undermining your business.

If you are an investor:

Until the Philippines gets its act together, do not invest there. It is just too dangerous.

Do not take advice from someone you met in a bar or at a social event. They target these places.

Be very wary of British advisors. It is predominantly the Brits who are perpetrating the scams. Check that your advisor has a license to operate in the Philippines, that he has a recognized financial qualification, that it is current and that he has professional liability insurance. Don’t believe testimonials.

Many clients don’t even realize they have been scammed. Avoid QROPS like the plague – unless you like danger, want 100% of the risk and are willing to lose 30% of your savings as commissions. Try to avoid commissions. They are illegal in many countries as they discourage independence.

It is not possible for two sets of people to pocket commissions and for you to carry low risk. It’s better to negotiate a set fee. If they say your savings are insured get them to prove it. Visit their office.

Make sure they have a permanent presence and it’s not a virtual office. Remember what “Discretionary Asset Management” is. It’s giving your money to a bunch of strangers to do whatever they like with it and where you have little scope to complain afterwards. Avoid your money being diverted through offshore havens like Mauritius.

Not only do you lose traceability but the transaction becomes split across several regulatory agencies, all of whom will claim they do not have full jurisdiction. Your portfolio should be balanced and should always contain an ultra safe element, such as strong government stocks. Google the people who contact you. Ignore personal slurs but take note of solid evidence.

You may have worked a lifetime for your savings. These people have no remorse about losing it in an instant.

to Deep Throat #1427624

i feel the same, you write your 6 draft 8 paragrapgh ' what clients who lost money should have done or do ' and i ask myself why dont you ??...........go to the the fraud police, report them to the authorities YOU are obviously someone who is either a competitor or you have too much time on your hands, so stop talking and start doing or go AWAY! and save the planet somewhere else

to Deep Throat #1428296

If I were a competitor I would not recommend people to be distrustful of ALL advisors. I would not recommend that it is safer if people invest outside the Philippines.

The evidence has obviously come from many different sources and I have checked it.

It is coherent. The people criticized have offered no evidence in return. They have simply blamed an ex-employee, then blamed his brother, then a competitor, offered some childish insults, then said none of this is important anyway. It is very important.

I also know that a number of victims have presented their evidence to regulatory organizations and these organizations are just sitting on it.

We all know this happens in the Philippines and why it happens.

I hate to say it, but if you cannot count on a good judicial system then you can never feel safe investing in a country.

It is absolutely the right thing to advise potential investors to check the evidence themselves. It is right that they should ask the right questions and to only go ahead if they get the right answers.

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