Financial loss on Self Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) with Berkeley Burke

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Many people have suffered financial losses investing or transferring their pension funds into a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) provided by Berkeley Burke.

Senior Associate Tim Hampson works for award-winning Neglect Assist and is currently acting on behalf of a significant number of people in claims for financial losses on SIPPs provided by Berkeley Burke

Read more about Tim or contact him here

The SIPP has been used to make investments into high risk or illiquid funds and assets. This has led to people suffering devastating financial losses on their pension funds and in some situations, the full fund value has been lost entirely.

We are acting for over 30 clients who have suffered losses on such funds provided by Berkeley Burke. If you are similarly affected then we would like to hear from you as we may be able to assist you in bringing a No Win No Fee claim to recover your losses.

If you have suffered financial loss as a result of investing or transferring a pension to a SIPP with Berkeley Burke then please call us on 0800 152 2620 for free and without obligation advice.

We are aware of particular problems and instances of high levels of financial loss on the following SIPPs provided by Berkeley Burke;

Senior Associate Tim Hampson works for award-winning Neglect Assist and is currently acting on behalf of a significant number of people in claims for financial losses on SIPPs provided by Berkeley Burke. You can listen to an interview that Tim recently featured in on BBC Radio 4 where these cases were discussed using this link. 

Read more about Tim or contact him here

Store First (Storage Pod investments)

This involves using the SIPP to purchase storage pods or units. They are commonly sold on the basis that the investor will receive financial returns through the rents paid by customers who use the storage pods or units.

Problems can arise if the storage pod or unit remains empty and unused. In this situation, no rental income will be generated and there will consequently be no returns to pass on to the investor.

In January 2016, it was revealed that only between 10 – 14% of storage pods and units were being rented, which highlights the scope of the problem from an investor’s perspective.

Additional difficulties can be encountered if an individual wishes to bring the investment to an end. It is sometimes only possible to achieve this by selling the storage pod or unit on the open market.

If the pod or unit has remained empty and not therefore benefited from any significant rental income, the price it can achieve on the open market may be considerably lower than what it was originally purchased for. This can leave the original investor with an illiquid asset or may alternatively mean they can only dispose of it by incurring a financial loss.

Berkeley Burke have provided a considerable number of SIPPs which have been used in this way and this has left many people in a vulnerable financial position.

Sustainable Agroenergy

This involved investment of pension funds into tree plantations in Cambodia, which is not an asset class or activity which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Jatropha Trees were due to be planted on 6,000 hectacres of land and investors were due to receive returns from the eco-friendly oil that such trees yield. There were difficulties in farming the land in question due to the presence of landmines and less than 6% of the overall area was ever planted on.

The prospects of investors into the scheme receiving any money back are deemed to be very low. The Director of Sustainable Agroenergy Plc received a substantial prison sentence following investigation of their business dealings by the Serious Fraud Office.

We are aware of a number of cases where Berkeley Burke have provided SIPPs which are used to invest in this fund and recommend that anyone affected seek advice on their options.

Global Forestry Investments

This concerns investment of pension money into teak tree plantations in Brazil. Investors were told that they could expect to receive returns of at least 10% each year in addition to having the original capital investment protected.

Many people failed to receive the expected payments and the company involved, which was not authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, subsequently went into liquidation.

This has left many investors with funds that are now considered to be worthless and cannot be disposed of. Berkeley Burke have provided numerous SIPPs of this nature.

GAS Verdant

This investment involved the purchase of plots of farm land in Australia. Investors were told that they would receive significant returns from sales of crops which were grown on the plots of land they had purchased.

In many cases, these returns have failed to materialise and recent valuations suggest the land purchased is worth significantly less than the amount investors originally paid.

This had led to some individuals who have invested pension funds in this manner with Berkley Burke to suffer significant levels of financial loss.

Duties owed by Berkeley Burke

As a business which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Berkeley Burke must meet strict professional standards and abide by prescribed rules and regulations.

If they fail to do this it could mean that they are liable for any subsequent financial losses suffered by their clients and customers.

We believe that Berkeley Burke have breached several important, fundamental regulatory rules prescribed by the FCA with regards to the dealings they have had with customers who invest into SIPPs which they provide.

Furthermore, advisers are under a legal duty to consider the suitability of an investment having regard to an individual’s circumstances. The Financial Ombudsman Service have previously stated that SIPP providers such as Berkeley Burke have a duty to warn customers not to proceed with unsuitable SIPP investments.

If you have lost money on a SIPP provided by Berkeley Burke then Neglect Assist may be able to help you with a no win, no fee claim to recover your losses. Please call us on 0800 152 2620 for free and without obligation advice.

Dealings with unauthorised third parties

We are proceeding with a significant number of cases where our clients have suffered financial losses after being introduced to Berkeley Burke by a third party who is not authorised or regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

In such circumstances, it may be possible to establish that Berkeley Burke are liable for losses caused by any financial advice given by these unauthorised third parties.

This is because the law allows a customer to recover losses which have been caused by making investments through authorised firms where this follows advice or recommendations made by unauthorised firms.

We would therefore welcome contact from anyone who has suffered financial loss after having been introduced to Berkeley Burke by any third party.

Relevant Case Studies

Mr S from Surrey
received
£57,000

He held two mainstream personal pension funds worth a combined total of slightly over £57,000. He did not have any significant savings or investments elsewhere and therefore wanted to be cautious with how these pension funds were used.

Mrs B from Kent
received
£30,000

She had a mainstream personal pension fund valued at slightly over £30,000. This was the entirety of her retirement savings and she was reliant upon this money for her future retirement. Due to this, she required a low risk pension savings strategy which would keep her capital secure.

Mr B from Manchester
received
£32,000

He had pension savings of slightly over £32,000 and did not want to take any risks with this money as he was approaching retirement. He would therefore have little opportunity to make back any losses which may potentially be suffered through higher risk investments.

Ms N from London
received
£18,000

She had an occupational pension fund of around £18,000 and required a low risk option which would preserve the capital she had and offer a reasonable rate of future growth. She was not seeking an investment with high elements of risk involved.

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