A FORMER employee of the Louis Group is among investors who fear they may now have lost their life savings.
Jane Taylor, who worked as a senior investment administrator for the Louis Group in the Isle of Man for two years, invested a total of £25,000.
She said: ‘They were my employer and I trusted them.
‘I had worked in banking for 35 years and it was not sold as a high risk investment - it was promoted as having no element of risk. There was a Christian ethic. I was told there was no way I would lose my money. A lot of customers trusted them the same as I trusted them. That’s the thing that hurts the most. They must have known things were going wrong.’
Jane initially invested her £15,000 of her savings, including money left to her by her aunt, for one year in 2007 but then reinvested it for another year, adding a further £10,000.
But after the Louis Group Structure Fund was suspended, unable to pay its multi-million pound debts, she is among a number of investors who fear they will never see their money again.
Regulator the Financial Supervision Commission is being urged to wind up the company in the interests of investors and the Manx public.
Jane was among 10 staff made redundant from the Louis Group in 2009.
She subsequently left the island and now runs a B&B in Orkney with her partner, Geoff.
‘When I was employed at Louis Group there was no hint of any problems, even when we were made redundant,’ she said. ‘In fact it was all positive stuff coming from Alan Louis – and the big selling point was that these investments were safe, and Louis Group was trustworthy, Christian and ethical.
‘If that was the case they would have sold them as medium to high risk – when they definitely said there was no risk.’
Liquidators from PricewaterhouseCoopers, who were appointed by the High Court in May this year to trace the whereabouts of sums totalling more than £5 million, say investors were left in the dark about the financial affairs of the company and its various linked entities.
The company rejects the liquidators’ findings, with director Alan Louis saying they weren’t given the opportunity to comment in advance and that they will oppose the winding-up hearing.
A date for the winding up hearing has been set for January 21.
A steady stream of Louis Group investors have contacted the Examiner after a number went public to reveal the scale of their feared losses.
One of them, Richard Griffiths, who invested a significant proportion of his life savings in the Louis Group in July 2009, is keen to hear from other investors with a view to setting up a support group. You can contact him at rgriffiths(at)manx.net.