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Latest Pensions and Investment Advice Firms Declared ‘In Default’ by FSCS

A long list of failed firms has been published on the Financial Services Compensation Scheme’s website in recent months. Check the details and find out more about what this means for investors.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects customers when financial services firms go out of business. It regularly publishes details of failed firms on its website. We previously discussed what ‘in default’ means and how the FSCS can step in and pay compensation claims against these firms. The following firms have been added recently:

Abana Unipessoal Lda formerly Abana Lda: A Portuguese firm which had very limited permissions to work in the UK. It has been found that the firm undertook regulated activities outside of these permissions, including arranging pension transfers into specific Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs), the Avalon & Westerby SIPPs.

Sterling Green Ltd, previously trading as Sterling Green (Mortgages) Limited: This Cheshire-based firm has not been authorised by City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) since January 2023 and is in liquidation. In February, it was reported that it had four claims against it, all relating to SIPPs. Two had been upheld and two were in progress.

Frodsham Financial Planning Ltd, formerly Tom Carroll Associates Financial Planning Ltd: Claims have also been upheld against this home finance and pension adviser. The firm was dissolved in May 2021 after losing its FCA authorisation in July 2020.

Hartley Pensions Ltd: This firm has been in the news for a number of years and went into administration in July 2022. It had a history of buying other failed SIPP administrators, including Guinness Mahon Trust Corporation, Lifetime SIPP Company, Berkeley Burke, and GPC SIPP. The FSCS is not currently open to claims against Hartley Pensions directly, but is working with customers of other authorised firms whose SIPPs were transferred to Hartley Pensions.

A.P. Financial Services UK Ltd, trading as Pella Associates, GW Financial Planning Services, Stuart James Clark Financial Services: This Swindon-based firm was dissolved in August 2023 and has been reported to have one claim against it in relation to pension transfer advice.

Strategic Investment Solutions Ltd: Another failed firm that offered pension advice, it was associated with a number of appointed representatives and agents.

Fresh Financial Solutions LLP: One claim has been upheld against this Northern Ireland-based firm, in relation to pension (SIPP) advice.

Aqua Financial Services Ltd, formerly Aqua IFA Ltd: This firm was one of many that advised members of the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS) to transfer out of their workplace pension into a SIPP. The FCA found evidence to suggest that “46% of all transfers were unsuitable”.

Abbey Lane Financial Associates Ltd: Another firm linked to the BSPS scandal, Birmingham-based Abbey Lane has dozens of complaints against it, one of which has been upheld, leaving the firm with no other option but to go out of business.

Pension Advice Specialists Ltd, trading as Ashworth Wealth: This Manchester-based firm advised clients on pension transfers, though not in relation to the British Steel scheme. The FSCS has received over a dozen claims against the firm.

KBFS Financial Ltd / Kathryn Brown: The two are connected and have not, as yet, been declared in default, but they are under FSCS investigation. Claims relating to advice before 1st July 2019 should be set up against Kathryn Brown; after that date, claims will be against KBFS Financial Services Ltd. Both firms were associated with the BSPS scandal but, as they went out of business after the cut-off date of 28th February 2023, neither can take part in the FCA’s consumer redress scheme, and claims should be made directly with the FSCS.

Finsbury Financial Ltd, trading as Finsbury: This Basingstoke-based firm had four claims against it, all relating to investment advice. One has been upheld.

Oakwood Financial Management LLP: There have been two successful claims against the Birmingham-based firm relating to pensions and mortgage advice.

Go IFA Ltd, formerly Stevton Ltd trading as Go IFA Ltd, Go IFAs: This firm was based in Tunbridge Wells and gave pension transfer and SIPP advice. Three clams have been made, with one being upheld to date.

WR Simon Ashley Silver Independent Financial Advisor Ltd: The firm was based in Leeds and is no longer trading. Fourteen complaints were made against it related to investment and pensions advice, one of which has been upheld so far.

PH7 Wealth Management Ltd, formerly The Pension Place Ltd, trading as PH7 Mortgages, PH7 Insurance Brokers, PH7 Wealth, PH7 Wealth Management Ltd: Another firm with an upheld claim against it relating to SIPP advice. The company operated from Burnley.

Atlantic Investors (Scotland) Ltd: The firm was previously authorised to advise on pensions and investments, but has now failed.

Alexander David Securities Limited: The FSCS has investigated the activities of London broker Atlantic Investors (Scotland) Ltd and its appointed representatives, namely St Pauls Marketing Ltd and Templeton Securities Ltd. It has concluded that claims can be made in relation to specific investments and pension transfers.

Sarah Spruce, Legal Director and Head of the Professional Negligence team at TLW Solicitors, says:

“Some of these companies were advising customers over a decade ago but have only just been declared in default. If you recognise any of the names and are worried about your pensions or investments, please get in touch with a member of our team for a free no-obligation assessment and to talk about possible next steps, including making a ‘no-win, no-fee’ refund claim.

As industry specialists, my team and I keep a close eye on developments and in particular if these firms fail or look like they are about to, in turn putting us in the best position to support and get the best for our clients.”

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) is an independent, Government-backed lifeboat scheme that can step in pay compensation (up to a limit of £85,000 per person) when an authorised financial services firm fails and is unable to pay its own way.

While it is possible to take a claim to the FSCS directly, they can be complex and time-consuming, with a lot of legal and financial jargon to decipher.

We have a team of FSCS claims specialists who can ensure that you get the best results possible for you. The FSCS asks for specific information in order to process your claim, and we know how to find, collate and submit everything they need to assess your claim quickly and accurately.

We work on a no-win, no-fee basis, so you pay us nothing if your claim is unsuccessful.

If you are concerned about your, a friend, or a loved one’s investment or pension and are considering making a claim through the FSCS, please contact TLW Solicitors. Call us on 0800 169 5925, email info@tlwsolicitors.co.uk, or complete one of the callback forms below.

It is important to get advice as soon as possible, as strict time limits can apply.

Minimum case values apply.

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