Advisor scams pensioners out of R100 million with promises of 14% returns

Last week on Thursday police arrested financial advisor Thomas Stringfellow after he handed himself in.

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) suspects his Stringfellow Group has lost R100 million of funds under its management after making fraudulent, unregulated investments.

Stringfellow promised investors – many of them retired – returns of 14% a year, paid out monthly, to invest in Australian sportswear firm Lorna Jane’s South African stores which he ran and has since all closed.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Phillip de Wet (Associate Editor, Business Insider SA), Robert Walton (CEO, Boutique Collective Investments) and Brandon Topham of the FSCA.

Listen to the interviews in the audio below (and scroll down for quotes from it).

His firm… was well-respected; won a couple of awards… Former associates of Stringfellow are not picking up their phones…

Phillip de Wet, Associate Editor - Business Insider South Africa

He was telling his investors… the stock market is going to crash… and that he can keep them safe…

Phillip de Wet, Associate Editor - Business Insider South Africa

The way he managed to do this is due to longstanding relationships of 20 years or longer.

Robert Walton, CEO - Boutique Collective Investments

We terminated… due to rumours. We have a clause that we can terminate if there is a reputation risk involved… Yes [when asked if he thinks this has gone on for many years] …

Robert Walton, CEO - Boutique Collective Investments

If a thing sounds too good to be true, it cannot be true…

Robert Walton, CEO - Boutique Collective Investments

Thomas Stringfellow is a really good guy… there are pictures of investors [with him], every single one of them, basically up to less than a week ago…

Robert Walton, CEO - Boutique Collective Investments

It’s mostly pensioners and old people that really need that money. It’s terrible…

Robert Walton, CEO - Boutique Collective Investments

There’s great unhappiness on our part when a regulated financial advisor goes rogue… we’re tasked to protect investors…

Brandon Topham, Financial Sector Conduct Authority

When business didn’t go according to plan it started to become a Ponzi scheme…

Brandon Topham, Financial Sector Conduct Authority

We received a tip on Wednesday night that he was liquidating his assets and was planning to flee the country…

Brandon Topham, Financial Sector Conduct Authority

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