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Berkeley Burke: High Court upholds FOS decision

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On 30th October 2018, a significant ruling was made by the High Court in the Judicial Review of Berkeley Burke v the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

A Judicial Review is a type of high-level court proceeding where a senior judge considers the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body. In other words, Judicial Reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights or wrongs of that decision. The 45-page decision can be found here.

SIPP Provider Berkeley Burke

Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) providers, Berkeley Burke argued that FOS, a Government-backed body set up to resolve complaints between financial businesses and their customers, had incorrectly applied Conduct of Business rules in a decision FOS had made against them. Berkeley Burke alleged that this could lead to a wrongful precedent being set about how much due diligence should be carried out by a SIPP provider on investment products.

FOS had originally upheld a complaint from a Mr C against Berkeley Burke for a lack of due diligence on the investment in Sustainable Agro Energy made within his SIPP, which he had been recommended to make by an unregulated introducer, in turn causing him to lose a significant amount of money.

The High Court came down on the side of FOS, ruling that it had correctly applied Conduct of Business rules in its finding against Berkeley Burke.

Berkeley Burke has confirmed they intend to appeal this decision.

John Burn, Partner at TLW Solicitors and a specialist in financial mis-selling claims, said:

“This decision should be viewed in light of other ongoing cases against SIPP providers where the investment has been procured by an unregulated introducer both in the Courts and with FOS.

Although it would appear not be the end of the road for these cases generally, it is an important ruling that can only strengthen our clients’ ongoing claims against their SIPP providers.  The original decision by FOS clarified the level of due diligence to be expected from a SIPP provider under their regulatory framework.   To our mind, these standards should be applied across the board.  If a client has been introduced to a SIPP provider with a high-risk investment product via an unregulated party, it is expected that as an Financial Conduct Authority regulated company, the SIPP provider has a level of responsibility to their client to check the appropriateness of the suggested investment.”

If you have transferred your pension into a SIPP and lost money on your investments, it may be that those investments were not appropriate for you or your SIPP.  You may have a claim against your SIPP provider for a lack of due diligence on the investment. Time limits apply to cases like this and so anyone wishing to bring a claim should do so without delay.

If you think that you, a friend or a loved one may have lost out due to SIPP provider negligence, then please get in touch with one of the specialist financial mis-selling lawyers here at TLW Solicitors for a free, no-obligation discussion.

You can either ring us on 0800 169 5925, email info@tlwsolicitors.co.uk or complete the callback form below.

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