Royal Skandia Abandons Tarnished Identity, Renames Itself “Old Mutual”

Royal Skandia Life Assurance Limited (arrow)

Royal Skandia has announced that it will be changing its name to Old Mutual on Dec. 22, 2014. I first learned about this after being informed by one of the company’s victims. (I know several.)

Skandia International to Become Old Mutual International (Highlighted)

A screenshot from Skandia’s website. Are the words in the red block supposed to be a joke?

Skandia claims that the purpose of changing its name is to align itself with its parent company. That may be true, but I suspect there’s another reason that Skandia isn’t mentioning.

If you do a search on Google HK for “Royal Skandia”, one of the top results is an article by Andrew Hallam, titled, “Royal Skandia…On The List of Legal Corruption?

Andrew Hallam - Royal Skandia on the List of Legal Corruption

Screenshot from Andrew Hallam’s website.

Hallam links to a now classic news article about the landmark legal case in which Jeremy Hobbins sued Royal Skandia and Clearwater (Hobbins’ broker) for bribery. The lawsuit has since been mentioned repeatedly in various local and overseas newspapers, including in an article in the Japan Times, titled, “It’s Their Plan for Your Money, So Assume Deception“.

More recently, Royal Skandia has been exposed in newspapers across the globe for its role in facilitating the LM Investment Management disaster, in which 12,000 victims lost all or nearly all their retirement savings. Royal Skandia is once again facing legal action.

Another top search result for “Royal Skandia” is a discussion forum in which a victim from Botswana, who lost more than half her savings, asks for help:

Royal Skandia and so called Savings and Pensions Account

The responses to the lady’s call for help eventually turn into a heated argument between a crafty financial product salesman and several other commenters.

The salesman claims, “The problem is NOT with the product…we can’t blame the manufacturer of the car when we get a flat tyre or run out of oil and the engine blows up…The products are really fantastic savings vehicles.”

The salesman, whose name is Daniel, is rebutted by multiple angry victims:

Skandia Forum 1

Skandia Forum 2

Skandia Forum 3

Another victim shares a link to an article titled, “The Truth about Off-Shore Pensions“, which analyzes one of Skandia’s products, the Managed Pension Account.

The article’s author concludes, “In my own humble opinion, anyone who bought [an offshore pension like Skandia’s] would have to be either naïve or insane.”

He adds, “I believe for all of the regulation that has been imposed on this industry in recent years, regulators would do better to regulate the products and not the advisers, because if such products were outlawed, then they couldn’t be sold.”


Another top search result for “Royal Skandia” is a thread in a Thailand-based discussion forum. Someone asks, “I am considering placing some investment funds with the following offshore company [Royal Skandia] and I would be glad to know if anyone has experiences, positive or not, with them.”

There are dozens of responses, almost all of them negative. Here’s a few of the shorter ones:

Stay far far away (cropped)

It's an insurance company... enuff said (cropped) 2

Skamdia (cropped)

After receiving so many responses, the person who started the thread thanked all of the commenters, saying, “At the time I started this thread I was believing the Skandia Bond was the way to go. Thanks to so many useful, incisive and astute posts–and other research–my eyes have been opened.”

Is Royal Skandia Trying to Distance Itself from Its Skandalous History?

By changing its name to “Old Mutual”, Royal Skandia may be “aligning itself with its parent company”, but it is also ensuring that future clients will be less likely to discover its troubled past.

This can be verified by comparing the Google search results for both “Old Mutual” and “Royal Skandia”. One will find that the results for “Old Mutual” are much cleaner.

However, if the company formerly known as Royal Skandia continues to operate in the same way that it has historically operated, then one day, the top search results for “Old Mutual” will be just as embarrassing as Royal Skandia’s are now.

When that day comes, not just the company formerly known as Royal Skandia, but the entire group of companies known as “Old Mutual”, will all be facing an image problem.

3 thoughts on “Royal Skandia Abandons Tarnished Identity, Renames Itself “Old Mutual”

  1. Anonymous

    Just to add a little to the tarnished reputation. Skandia under their EIB platform allowed investments in LM Australia Managed Performance Fund via unlicensed advisors. MPF in their Feb 2011 Information Memorandum to Bond Providers and International Platforms including Skandia, Friends and Royal London clearly states this is a UCIS and admits to redemption delays and favouring redemptions to Bond Providers who must have been the majority, no chance for Direct Investors. IM’s issued after this still “state redemption delays ask your financial adviser for details”. In 2010 investment earnings income from MPF was $26M, $25.6 was capitalised interest. In 2010 they upped the interest on Madison etc to 25% and even Peter D and Ekard loans were capitalising interest at 17%, did he intend to repay? In 2011 costs went from $13.5M to $59.3M inc FX losses $30M according to the audited accounts. A basic analysis of MPF accounts shows it was clearly a PONZI from 2009. In 2009 capitalised interest was 84% of income so no cash, totally reliant on “New Investors”. The IM states “accounts are maintained and sent to investors annually” indirect investors will have to contact their platform provider! 4500 MPF Pensioners “Victims of Financial Rape”!

  2. Monks CM

    Here in Thailand, dozens of victims of illegal salesmen are desperately attempting to get at least justice and hopefully some financial reparation for their losses. Many are victims of the LM Ponzi scheme, many others have portfolios crammed with unregulated, high-risk investments, some of which were sold even after the bonds were suspended. The unlicensed, unqualified and unethical FAs involved reaped huge amounts of commission, churned investments without advising their clients in order to rake off more commissions and generally behaved like the crooks they are whilst pretending t be friends of the victims.
    Laws and a total lack of concern by the authorities here make any redress almost impossible, especially as major players debunked back to their home countries to avoid writs and threats. Attempts to get the likes of FPI (a favorite of rogue salesmen targeting expats here) have ended in failure. The scandal itself, however, covers many expat destinations worldwide, and is condoned and profited from by the IoM insurers.

    Many victims were taken in as much by the so-called ‘registration with the UK’s FCA ‘of the IoM product providers as by the scripted lies of the salesmen, only to realize too late that the FCA (formerly FSA) has no jurisdiction outside the UK borders and is totally unwilling to help. The entire issue is a scam operated on three levels – the illegal salesmen, middlemen and the product providers, who encourage its continuation for their own profit and will continue to do so, whatever they call themselves.

    It’s a no-win situation for victims, even although the Hong Kong government has now outlawed the selling of ILAS /UCIS. Until governments take note of the total losses over the last decade, including LM, and enforce due diligence, caps on commissions, massive fines etc on the offshore industry, the rape of expats will continue unchecked.

    1. Lindell Lucy Post author

      Just a note: Hong Kong regulators have not outlawed ILAS. They’ve only outlawed indemnity commissions, which in effect, outlaws the worst types of ILAS products, but not all ILAS products. ILAS is just the local technical term for investment products wrapped in a layer of “insurance”.


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