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Simon Read: More dodgy intermediaries caught too late

Two Surrey-based investment advisers were fined £885,000 yesterday and banned. Their crime? They were caught misleading clients.

Specifically, the advisers told 300 people to invest £35m in dodgy property developments in the UK and overseas, many of which the two advisers – Mark Bentley-Leek and Mustafa Dervish – actually owned. Shockingly some investors were even told to expect returns of up to 50 per cent.

Now you could trot out the old adage that if it looks too good to be true, then it probably isn't, and that those who were caught out by the advisers really have only themselves to blame.

I disagree. Few of us know the first thing about investment and a sharp-suited salesman with quick patter and what seems like good knowledge can be very persuasive.

What concerns me more is the number of these dodgy advisers that seem to constantly pop up. Why weren't their activities spotted by the authorities much earlier?