An investor has complained about two companies which he claimed gave him unsuitable advice to put his money into a series of film partnership schemes.
The man, referred to as Mr T, complained to the Financial Ombudsman Service about Ingenious Ventures Ltd and Ingenious Media Investments Ltd.
He originally invested in three film partnership schemes after a meeting with Ingenious in 2003 to discuss mitigating his tax bill.
The man has since claimed the schemes were unsuitable for him, but ombudsman Laura Colman said Ingenious was not responsible for establishing whether this was the case.
She said: â€œIngenious didnâ€™t just say in its standard documents that it didnâ€™t give investment advice. In March 2003 Mr T sent an email to Ingenious asking for advice, and it responded to say it couldnâ€™t do that.
â€œI accept that it gave him information about how its film schemes worked, but Iâ€™m not persuaded that it advised him.â€
Mr T was introduced to Ingenious after a meeting with his accountants.
He submitted two complaints to Fos – one against Ingenious Ventures, which related to three investments he made into film partnerships in 2003 – and the other against Ingenious Media Investments, which related to an investment in a film partnership made in 2005.
In both complaints the ombudsman ruled that Ingenious did not give advice, though in the latter Ms Colman pointed out that another business Mr T had contact with told him it believed it could do so.
But Ms Colman did find that Ingenious breached restrictions on promotion of film partnerships to retail investors.
This was because it had asked Mr T to sign some documents relating to his status as a sophisticated investor at too late a stage.
Ms Colman said: â€œI consider that Ingenious should have established whether or not Mr T was a sophisticated investor and/or an intermediate customer before it promoted anything to him â€“ and certainly before it took his money.
â€œHowever, Iâ€™m satisfied that Ingenious gave Mr T ample opportunity to pull out if he wanted to.
The decision read that if Ingenious had done things the right way round – asking Mr T to sign the documents first – Ms Colman was satisfied he would still have signed them and that would still have invested in the same film schemes.
â€œAs a result, I donâ€™t think it would be fair for me to order Ingenious to pay Mr T any compensation.â€