We act for a 56 year old lady who was previously a member of a defined benefit scheme. In or about the Spring of 2011 she was cold called by a representative of a company by the name of TPS who persuaded our client to open a SIPP with Berkeley Burke, to transfer all of the benefits from her defined benefit scheme to the SIPP and to “invest” in storage pods.
In July 2011 the defined benefit scheme of which our client was a member transferred the sum of £65,791.36 to Berkeley Burke. Thereafter Hetheringtons Solicitors were instructed to act on behalf of our client in relation to the conveyancing transaction relating to the store pods. The sum of £62,250.00 was utilised to purchase 7 storage pods in Blackburn.
The storage pods are now of little or no value and, as such, our client has lost her entire investment.
We assisted our client in connection with a claim against Berkeley Burke to the FSCS (Financial Services Compensation Scheme). Our client was awarded the sum of £62,678.92, being the amount of her claim after taking into account the nominal amount of rental income received.
This must be one of the first FSCS decisions in respect of many thousands of claims now being made against Berkeley Burke.
Paul Higgins, who is a director of Higgins & Co Lawyers Limited t/a Pension Justice stated “I am delighted with the outcome of this claim as it vindicates our long held view that there was a responsibility on the part of the SIPP provider to exercise due diligence. Therefore a failure to do so would make the SIPP provider liable to pay compensation, should the client have suffered a loss”.
Berkeley Burke SIPP – Case Background
Numerous investors were given inadequate or deceptive advice while transferring funds from their personal pensions to a Berkeley Burke SIPP.
Subsequently, their pension funds were invested in high-risk, non-conventional options, some of which have become illiquid, resulting in their inability to be traded or sold.
Investments related to Berkeley Burke SIPP
Some of the most notable investments linked with Berkeley Burke SIPPs are
- Store First Storage Pods
- GAS Verdant Australian Farmland
- Overseas property in Cape Verde, Dominican Republic and Brazil
- Carbon credits
- Car park schemes
- Green oil
- Ethical Forestry and residential regeneration schemes in Berlin
Berkley Burke found guilty of not carrying out due diligence
The case was opened in 2014 when the Financial Ombudsman Service found that Berkeley Burke had failed to conduct sufficient due diligence on a £29,000 unregulated collective investment scheme. It was alleged that the establishment of the Sipps in question violated the Financial Service and Markets Act 2000. Despite ongoing appeals, the recent High Court decision upheld the initial ruling of the Financial Ombudsman Service in 2018.
How successful have claims against Berkeley Burke been?
According to ftadvisor.com, “The Financial Services Compensation Scheme has paid out £58.8m on claims it has received against failed provider Berkeley Burke Sipp Administration”. As of January 2023, they have received “a total of 2,155 claims against Berkeley Burke Sipp Administration, of which 1,795 have been upheld, 309 have been rejected, and 51 are still in progress.”
Why contact Pension Justice for help with your claim?
Using a claims management company to pursue a pension compensation claim is not mandatory. Depending on the circumstances, you can present your case to the pension provider, financial ombudsman service or the FSCS for free, subject to any time limits within which a claim must be made.
However, our experienced team can offer invaluable expertise and support throughout the process. We can help you navigate complex legal processes and alleviate the stress and burden of pursuing a pension mis selling claim alone.