Latest Blow for Store First Investors
In May 2019 we reported how Store First was “wound up in the public interest”. At that time, a High Court Judge ruled in relation to Store First Ltd and three associated companies, Store First Blackburn Ltd, Store First St Helens Ltd and SFM Services Ltd.
Unregulated pension investments
Store pods had been offered to a wide range of investors, including members of the public and pension providers, as part of Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) schemes. Investors paid thousands or, in some cases, tens of thousands of pounds to purchase pods. They were also given the option to sub-lease the pod back to Store First or SFM Services in return for income. Guaranteed returns of 8-10% had been promised.
Following the winding up order, a Store First spokesman said that the business would continue trading as usual, managed by Pay Store, to allow customers to continue storing their belongings, while a long-term solution was sought for the business.
The best outcome for creditors?
In December 2019 it was reported that the freeholds, assets and goodwill associated with all 15 Store First sites had been transferred to Store First Freeholds Ltd and Pay Store Ltd, businesses owned wholly by Jennifer Whittaker, wife of Store First CEO Toby Whittaker.
A spokesman for the liquidators (The Official Receiver) said:
“As liquidator of Store First and the associated companies, the Official Receiver has a duty to realise the assets in the interests of the creditors.
“The sale of the freehold, associated assets and goodwill of the 15 storage centres to Store First Freeholds Limited, as well as the sale assets of SFM Services Limited to Pay Store Limited, represented the best outcome for creditors.”
This latest deal is worrying for investors, who may never be able to recover their money. They have been told they can surrender their storage pod and their liability for business rates, but no payment would be issued in return. In effect, their investment would be written off, clearly not “the best outcome” for them.
Store First has also given an undertaking not to market or sell storage pods to investors. However, this is little comfort to those who have already invested.
TLW Solicitors’ experience with Store First investments
Last year, TLW Solicitors successfully recovered a significant amount of compensation for Mr Morgan, who had transferred his pension pot to a SIPP and invested in Store First.
Alexandra Laws of TLW Solicitors, who represented Mr Morgan, said:
“We want to reassure people like Mr Morgan, who thought his pension was lost, that they are not to blame in a situation such as this, and that they are the alone. We want people to understand that all is not lost and that by obtaining correct and specialist legal advice there, may well be a positive financial outcome.
TLW Solicitors can help
If you think that you, a friend or loved one may have lost out financially by investing in Store First Ltd 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 firstname.lastname@example.org complete the call-back form below.
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