Have your pension funds been put at risk by a SIPP investment scheme?
These days there are a huge number of investment opportunities open to those looking to get a little more from their pension funds. There are countless Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) that are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), overseen by fund managers and focused on standard assets like stocks or bonds.
Likewise, there is an equally high number of Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes (UCIS) operating outwith the jurisdiction of the FCA and offering opportunities to invest in a huge range of non-standard assets. From green energy to parking spaces, these projects are advertised as unmissable opportunities to earn more from your pension funds via a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP). What is often not advertised, however, is that they are also extremely high-risk and unsuitable for most members of the general public.
Despite this fact – repeatedly stated by the FCA – many ordinary pension holders have been wrongly advised to transfer their pensions into a SIPP in order to invest in these unregulated schemes. If you have been persuaded to invest your pension funds into a project like the ones described below it’s possible you have been the victim of faulty pension advice and your hard-earned savings have been put at unnecessary risk.
We’ve seen examples of unregulated parking investment schemes related to parking spaces both in the UK and abroad. Typically sold as low-risk opportunities with small minimum investments in exchange for guaranteed above-inflation returns. The opposite has in fact turned out to be true for a considerable number of these schemes, with the Park First scandal being an illustration of just how disastrous they can be.
Green energy and ethical projects
Green energy and ethical project investments often appeal to investors thanks to their mix of exotic locations, ethical credentials and the attraction of helping to build a more environmentally friendly future. Sadly these projects are notoriously unreliable and frequently fail to make it off the ground, leaving investors in a precarious financial position. These include:
Some pension holders have been seduced into investing in storage pod investment schemes after being promised a high income that would go straight into their pockets. Sadly the opposite has happened with storage pods sitting empty for long periods producing no income whatsoever while investors continued to be charged management fees. The Store First scheme, run by the same group responsible for the Park First debacle, is a prime example of this.
Overseas property and hotel developments
Unregulated overseas property and hotel investment schemes have been advertised to pension holders as excellent opportunities to get involved in luxury developments in exotic locations. Lured in by the potential for high returns along with perks like spending time in these luxury resorts, many put their hard-earned pension funds into what they were led to believe was a safe investment. Contrary to the sales claims, unregulated overseas development schemes are inherently risky with a high failure rate. A point demonstrated by the ill-fated Freedom Bay, Harmony Bay and The Resort Group investment schemes.
Pension holders are often persuaded to invest in UCIS with assurances that all money loaned will be secured by loan notes. They are led to believe these are safer than traditional stock options because they are not subject to fluctuations in the stock market. However, what is rarely mentioned is the fact that they are also not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This makes recovering funds in the event that a project fails very difficult. Lakeview UK Investments, InvestUS and Aigo Loan Notes were UCIS that operated using this model.
Have you invested in a scheme like these?
If any of the above projects and scenarios sound familiar to you then you may have been the victim of a mis-sold pension investment. Your money may have been put at unnecessary risk, and you could have already lost out.
Our team at Beat the Banks are highly experienced in dealing with a wide range of compensation claims concerning unregulated investment schemes. They can assess if your investment was mis-sold and establish a case for compensation. Call us on 0800 193 1234 to speak to one of our advisers about your situation.