Heavily recommended as an unregulated pension investment, the funds were invested with Store First. They provided a number of storage facilities in locations all over the UK and promised investors double digit returns. Store First also offered another “attractive” and unregulated investment via Park First. This one involved the renting of car parking spaces at airports such as Glasgow and Gatwick. Both were members of Group First with the ultimate holding company being Group First Global Limited. Toby Whittaker was the sole shareholder and 100% owner.
Accounts released covering the period to June 2017 the group posted an incredible loss of £42 million after tax and interest. In August 2018, the FCA came to the conclusion that Park First was a high risk collective investment scheme that should only be promoted by authorised firms. In July 2017, the Business Secretary applied to court to have Store First Ltd and four linked companies wound up in the public interest.
It’s clear that innocent pension holders who trusted Douglas Bailie Ltd and The Pension Specialist have lost everything. Perhaps unsurprisingly The Serious Fraud Office announced in May 2017 that it had opened an investigation into Storage Pod Investment Schemes.