Brothers Alan and Russell Taylor were sentenced in a Norfolk court on Thursday for defrauding 237 clients of their Hoveton-based financial advice firm Taylor and Taylor Associates.
Alan Taylor was jailed for six years, while Russell Taylor received a five-year jail sentence. Both were also disqualified from being company directors for 12 years.
Mark Fenhall, the barrister mitigating on behalf of the brothers, said they only ever had good intentions for their clients.
According to newspaper Eastern Daily Press, Alan Taylor left school at 16-years-old with only one GCSE, being a D in economics, to work with his dad at Taylor and Taylor.
Fenhall said helping clients during the 2008 financial crash had given Alan Taylor a “false, inflated belief of his own ability born from that success”.
“He thought he rightly guessed the market. He made some spectacular mistakes,” Fenhall said.
Fenhall told the court it was “astonishing” that someone with limited academic achievements like Alan Taylor could qualify and become a regulated adviser.
“It is without question true that Alan Taylor is deeply sorry for what he has done, unlike many he is not feeling sorry for himself, he is just sorry for what he has done to other people.
“His sorrow extends to his younger brother Russell, he accepts he was the driving force behind Vantage,” Fenhall said.
Vantage Investment Scheme
The Eastern Daily Press reports that the brothers pleaded guilty to using £16.7m ($22.7m, €19m) of their clients’ pension funds, to invest in a high-risk investment scheme called Vantage Investment Group (VIG).
The brothers did not tell their clients they were directors and investors in VIG, or that the fund was high risk.
Police said the fund was “win-win” for the brothers, as they took 20% of the profits the fund made, while any losses were effectively funded by the client.
Private jet and Rolex watches
The money the brothers made from VIG was used to fund lavish lifestyles, which included hiring a private jet for £150,000 and a private boat for £50,000.
They also bought several high-end Patek Philippe and Rolex watches worth tens of thousands of pounds each.
The scheme, which operated from 2008 until 2015, eventually lost the 237 clients, mostly elderly and retired, a total of about £5m.