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Berkeley Burke SIPP Administration Limited

Berkeley Burke SIPP Administration Limited

Since it was established in 2008, Berkeley Burke SIPP Administration Limited (BBSAL) has been one of the UK’s leading SIPP providers. On the 19 September 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced the firm were entering administration and as a result, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) were now accepting claims against them

Pensions transferred without due diligence

BBSAL have overseen the transfer of large numbers of pension-holders’ funds out of defined benefit pensions provided by employers into Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) on the promise of higher returns and a better deal.

These transfers were commonly recommended by unregulated third party introducers who were neither authorised or qualified to be giving out pension advice. Customers with no background in the financial services would not have been aware of this fact. BBSAL, however, had full knowledge of the regulations surrounding pension transfers and were wrong to accept business from these third parties.

Acting against FCA advice

Between 2010 and 2012, BBSAL accepted a number of Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes (UCIS) into their non-advised SIPPs, including:

These were high-risk, non-standard investments appropriate only for a very small number of individuals with large funds and a high capacity for risk, as confirmed by numerous warnings from the FCA. Contrary to this, BBSAL placed ordinary pension-holders funds at considerable risk by investing them in highly unsuitable schemes. Many of these have since become illiquid making recovering funds extremely difficult.

For a number of years, BBSAL and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) had been in dispute over what what the FOS considered was a lack of due diligence on BBSAL’s part in accepting these investments. In a landmark case in 2018, the High Court ruled in the Ombudsman’s favour, stating that it was part of the SIPP provider’s duty of care to check the suitability and the quality of these investments.

On 19 September 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced Berkeley Burke were finally entering administration as the firm was no longer able to defend the substantial number of claims against them. With immediate effect, the joint Administrators announced the sale of the Berkeley Burke’s SIPP business to Hartley Pensions and existing customers were automatically transferred to Hartley.

Following this action, Berkeley Burke SIPP Administration have been officially been declared as being in default by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), whose duty it is to protect consumers when financial services firms fail. In April 2019, they increased their maximum payout for a newly failed firm from £50,000 to £85,000.

This follows on the heels of the announcement by the FSCS in January 2018 that they had moved three SIPP operators into default. Namely Brooklands Trustees, Stadia Trustees and Montpelier Pension Administration Services Ltd. Since this move, they have received a number of claims against all three firms.

Were you a customer of Berkeley Burke?

We’re aware that many Berkeley Burke customers were advised by unregulated introducers, independent financial advisers and even mortgage brokers like Intrinsic and the ER Network. If you have found yourself in this unfortunate position, the team at Beat the Banks may be able to help you.

We think it’s wrong that pension holders have been tempted to gamble their financial security without proper advice and we’ll do everything we can to help you. Call us on 0800 193 1234 for a free no-obligation chat with one of our expert advisers.

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