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Financial Ombudsman Service to investigate around a thousand claims against SIPP providers

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Following the recent Berkeley Burke Judicial Review outcome, a summary of which can be found here, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has confirmed that it has received around 1,000 complaints this year against Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) providers.

According to industry publication, FT Adviser, these claims involve “many different parties”.

FOS has said that it is investigating these claims against SIPP providers based on their failure to carry out their responsibilities and will issue decisions in line with their statutory duties.

Judicial Review outcome

The outcome of the recent Judicial Review confirmed that FOS had correctly upheld a complaint against Berkeley Burke for their lack of due diligence on an investment and their failure to assess whether the investment was suitable to be placed within a pension.

FT Adviser also confirms that FOS is awaiting the outcome of Adams v Carey Pensions in the High Court for the purposes of making a decision on further SIPP claims which are currently halted pending the result of the ongoing trial.  In this particular case, the Claimant was introduced by an unregulated company to the SIPP operator who accepted a pension transfer to invest in storage units.

Although it seems as if the Courts and FOS are trying to grapple with similar issues in relation to SIPP operator obligations, the basis upon which they assess claims may ultimately be different with FOS looking at what is “fair and reasonable”. Whereas a Court takes a more adversarial approach in hearing evidence from the parties and witnesses and deciding the case on legal principles and case law.

In the meantime, in cases where the SIPP operator is no longer trading, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) are accepting claims. FT Adviser in a recent article confirmed that the FSCS are ‘opening the doors’ to claims against The Lifetime SIPP that entered into administration earlier this year.

Peter McKenna, Managing Partner and a specialist in financial mis-selling claims, said

“our team of experienced lawyers are dealing with a substantial amount of cases against various SIPP providers in circumstances similar to those in the above Berkeley Burke case.  It has been our view for quite some time that certain SIPP providers would fall foul of the strict rules they are meant to abide by, leading to an increase in the number of complaints against them.

In the last week we’ve received three adjudicator upholds from FOS where the complaint has been made against Berkeley Burke in relation to investments in Sustainable Agro Energy plc. We’re confident the number of upholds we will receive from FOS will substantially increase over the next few months”.

If you think that you, a relative of a friend may have lost out financially after making an investment via a SIPP, 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 call-back form below.

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