Store First Wound Up “in the Public Interest”
At a hearing on 30th April 2019 held at the Manchester District Registry of the High Court, before His Honour Judge Hodge QC, an order was agreed between the parties winding up Store First Ltd and three associated companies:
- Store First Blackburn Ltd
- Store First St Helens Ltd
- SFM Services Ltd.
The Official Receiver was appointed as liquidator and will be responsible for dealing with the assets and liabilities of the wound up companies. The court order was agreed in the “public interest” by consent between the four wound up companies and the Secretary of State.
The petition to wind up Store First Midlands Ltd was dismissed by consent between the parties following Store First Midlands Ltd transferring a storage centre it owned in Nottingham to Store First St Helens Ltd. Store First Midlands has undertaken to the Court to no longer sell or market store pods.
Store First history
Store First started trading in May 2011 by buying and developing purpose-built self-storage units on multiple sites around the UK. The 15 storage centres were in
- Cheshire Oaks
- St Helens
The storage units were then split up into different sized ‘store pods’ before being offered as investment products to a wide range of investors, including members of the public and pension providers on behalf of their clients as part of a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPPs).
Investors were then given the option to sublease back to either Store First or SFM Services in return for income from customers who rented the store pods. As well as acting as letting agents for the investors, SFM Services also managed the sites.
Store First’s response
Following the winding up, a spokesman for Store First is reported to have said: “Store First is delighted to confirm that an out of court agreement has been reached with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, which allows the Store First storage business to continue in operation with the current management company, Pay Store, running the operations of all its 15 storage centres.
“As stated, the existing management company, Pay Store, will continue to operate the storage business for the benefit of Store First investors, customers and staff.”
The Official Receiver has confirmed that Pay Store Ltd will carry on delivering services enabling people to continue to store and remove items “while a longer-term solution is found for the business”.
TLW Solicitors’ view
TLW Solicitors already act for many clients who have invested in Store First schemes, including through SIPP’s. Reflecting on the winding up, Peter McKenna, TLW Solicitors Partner and experienced financial mis-selling solicitor said:
“Unfortunately, while investors may have thought the initial application to wind up Store First Limited and its associated companies may have finally brought them some certainty that appears not to be the case.
Store First seem to suggest that it is very much business as usual. It would be surprising if this was the intention of the Secretary of State who brought this application and the comments by the Official Receiver about looking for a longer term solution really do add to the confusion about what is going to happen and what the purpose of the winding up application was, if it really is just business as usual.”
TLW Solicitors recently recovered a substantial amount of compensation for Mr Morgan who relied on negligent financial advice to invest in Store First via a SIPP. To find out more about how TLW Solicitors helped him, please watch his video here.
TLW Solicitors can help
If you think that you, a friend or loved one may have lost out financially after receiving advice to transfer an existing pension into Store First through 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the call-back form below.
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