Ipswich Inheritance firm – Police investigation

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Two arrested as Ipswich-based inheritance firm fails to keep promises to help people.

Dozens of clients are left fearing for their pensions after an inheritance planning firm has collapsed. A police investigation is underway.

Universal Wealth Management, based in Ipswich, ran seminars titled ‘Keep It In The Family’ which promised to protect client assets from inheritance tax. They also promised to help clients avoid care home fees.

Two people connected with the firm have been arrested and then later released as part of the inquiry.

Once they’d attended a seminar, clients would often place their home into a trust run by Universal Wealth Management, handing over ownership of their house. In the event of someone needing long-term care, the property would be disregarded by local authorities.

Clients began complaining in early 2018, but their calls and emails received no response. This followed dozens of staff being laid off from the company in late 2017.

In April 2018, two people connected with the firm were arrested on suspicion of fraud, but later released. They remain under active police investigation.

Action Fraud said that 140 Universal Wealth clients had been in touch with them regarding missing money.

Several people have spoken to the BBC about significant amounts of money they’ve lost. One man, Nigel Watson, attended a seminar with his parents in 2014. They subsequently signed their houses over to the trust and handed over £250,000 – their life savings.

Mr Watson was only informed of the company’s collapse after a former employee offered to change the trustees for a fee. He said having to tell his parents their life savings were gone was “terrible”.

The company has yet to comment on the story. Its Ipswich offices remain empty and 100 staff have lost their jobs.

You can watch the investigation when it is broadcast on BBC Inside Out East on BBC One on Monday at 7.30pm.