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.