Who need’s a factory gate when there’s google


Update***** Update****Update***** Update*****Update*****Update

The ad below appeared this morning as the top Google Ad on the search “Carillion pensions”.  I asked the FCA and tPR to ask for it to be taken down shortly after and it has been taken down at lunchtime.

We are quick to denounce regulators for being slow to act, but we are slow to praise them when they act effectively. Thanks regulators, especially tPR who have responded at the highest level.

carillion scamThere are thousands of deferred pensioners in Carillion’s 13 DB plans who are waking up feeling vulnerable and scared. If they google “Carillion Pensions” , the first thing that google will offer them is the ad above. I won’t do it the honour of making the link live, but were you to press it, you would land on this.

carillion scam 2

Scroll down and you will find this;

Carillion scam 3

To which we could add, transfer now , before your scheme goes into the PPF.

This might seem dodgy to the trained eye , but it looks pretty plausible if you are a Carillion employee who has just lost your job and suspect you might lose your pension.

Even more plausible if you read the small print about Financial-Advisor.co.uk

Carillion scam 4

.I’ve no idea which advisers are paying for Financial-Advisor.co.uk ‘s leads, but clearly one of them is prepared to help out with some clever compliance stuff so they can’t be seen to be soliciting transfer business.

As with Celtic Wealth/Active Wealth in Port Talbot, the tactic is for the factory gating to be conducted by professional lead generators – except there’s no factory gate like there was at Port Talbot – so the generation happens on Google.

Has Google no shame?

There is nothing illegal about what Financial-Advisor.co.uk is doing. There is nothing illegal about Google selling them the top-priced ad space. This is capitalism with a capital “I” for irresponsible. Google are not responsible for the outcomes of this ad, nor are those paying for the advice and by the time that the punter has filled out all the data collection stuff, we are three or four layers away from the direct approach.

No one will be accountable at Google, nor at the lead generators and meanwhile the vulnerable members will have been caught up in an urgent rush to get forms in before the guillotine comes down and their scheme goes into the PPF assessment period.

The intervening period is the perfect shark pool for those with the agility to profit from the pressures of the imminent departure of the scheme , the lure of capital and the horror of immediate redundancy.

Forget cold-calling , this kind of advertising is far more insidious and relevant to the FCA. I’m asking Megan Butler and Lesley Titcomb to ask  Eileen Naughton, newly appointed CEO at Google UK  to stop running these ads.

So go on – click that add!

Every time someone who knows, clicks the add in real time (google Carillion Pensions) it costs the lead generators money. I suggest that you spend a couple of seconds this morning, making the day of these parasites a little bit less profitable. If anyone wants to go a little further and find out what IFA sits behind all this, go for it.

If we have another Port Talbot at any of the Carillion Pension Schemes, it may be the end of transfers for a while. But I don’t want to see transfers banned and I don’t want to see Carillion deferred pensioners ripped off.

So get to it and see these stinkers off!


The Pension Advisory Service (TPAS) has set up a dedicated helpline for Carillion pension scheme members 020 7630 2715


About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
This entry was posted in advice gap, pensions and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Who need’s a factory gate when there’s google

  1. Mark Meldon says:

    Here we go again! How long before PPF assessment period ends, I wonder?

    You are right, Henry, in that I fear that DB transfer advice might come to an inappropriate and rather abrupt halt soon. I suspect will be the teetering professional indemnity insurance market for IFA’s that will kill it. That would be horrible because, as you say, there are instances where a DB transfer is the right thing to do for an individual.

    I might recommend a transfer a few times over a year (about one in ten of the cases I have looked at in the last 5 years) but I have a whopping £15,000 excess on my PI policy for this class of business – that’s a lot to carry, if you think about it – so the advice is necessarily “expensive”.

    Will we end up with a kind of equalisation between the private sector and statutory schemes where transfers were banned with “pension freedoms” in 2015?

    Hey, ho!

  2. Mark Scantlebury says:

    Hi Henry, well spotted. The clever phrase that jumped out was, ‘here’s why you might want to switch.’ Switching is a concept people are familiar with and understand the benefits of – we’re urged to switch energy and broadband providers because you get a better deal if you do. Clever and misleading.

  3. Phil Castle says:

    I think Megan Butler might have done as you suggested as the first coming up on Google now is Affected by Carillion? – Get information and advice – http://www.gov.uk‎
    Information about continuity of public services for employees and suppliers.

  4. If only it was that simple. What’s the difference between a SEO result paid for by means of an ad and a result that is simply based on the search engine’s algorithm? Search engines are themselves lead generation machines but we don’t think they need to be banned. On the contrary, they are a service to the public. But that doesn’t mean the public doesn’t need to be careful using them.There are limits to how much we should protect people as if everyone was vulnerable.

  5. John Mather says:

    Another Philip Green, which law firm advised both?

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