Financial losses on Pension Investments Into Store First Ltd

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Many people are facing the prospect of losing significant amounts of money having used a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) to invest into storage pods and units with Store First Ltd.

The SIPP has acted as a wrapper to purchase these storage pods and units from Store First Ltd. They were commonly sold on the basis that the investor would receive financial returns through the rents paid by customers who use the self storage facilities.

Problems have arisen because many of the storage pods and units remain empty and unused. In such situations, no rental income is generated and there are consequently no returns to pass on to the investor.

The difficulties with these investments have been exacerbated because in many cases investors are being asked to pay ongoing annual administration fees and other charges arising from their ownership of the units. This has led to situations where the level of expense often exceeds any returns being provided.

The consequence of this is that it can be very difficult, or in some cases impossible, for investors to bring their investment to an end by selling the storage units on the open market. Some investors have attempted to sell their storage units at auction without any success due to the lack of third party interest, while others have only been able to achieve a sale by accepting a sum significantly below the amount which was originally paid.

Winding Up Petition

The extent of the problems faced by investors of Store First Ltd was revealed when the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy filed a petition for the winding up of the company in May 2017.

This is an ongoing process, but could potentially lead to the Court making a winding up Order against Store First Ltd. If this were to occur, it is likely that a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner would be appointed to take control of the company’s assets and to distribute proceeds to their creditors.

It may be that the proceeds are not sufficient to cover the losses of all creditors, and it is worth noting that any investors would be considered as unsecured creditors given the collective nature of the investment. This means that the interests of secured creditors would take precedence and investors (as unsecured creditors) would only receive a return if any assets remained after all secured creditors had been satisfied.

This has led to certain SIPP providers accepting that any form of return to the investor is unlikely and they have written to customers advising that their investment with Store First Ltd is now considered to be worthless.

Pursuing a claim

It may be possible for investors to make claims for compensation to recover their losses against their financial advisor who recommended the Store First investment or the SIPP provider.

The business activities of these companies are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and they are under a duty to comply with rules of business and codes of conduct set by the FCA. Failure to do this could mean that they are liable for any subsequent financial losses suffered by their clients and customers.

In particular, financial advisers and SIPP providers owe a duty to exercise varying levels of due diligence on the investments made by customers through their SIPPs. This is a requirement which is designed to protect customers by ensuring the investments made are suitable, appropriate and do not expose people to higher levels of risk than what they are prepared to take.

There may have been a failure to exercise appropriate levels of due diligence by financial advisers and SIPP providers with regards to investments into Store First Ltd. This is because storage units are unregulated investments and were unsuitable for many people who held savings or pensions in mainstream, regulated funds. The level of risk involved with these types of investments may not have always been adequately explained to investors beforehand.

We are currently acting for many clients who have suffered losses on SIPPs which have been invested into storage units with Store First Ltd. 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. Please call us on 0800 152 2620 for further advice, or fill in the form and one of our Solicitors will call you back at a convenient time.

We are able to consider cases where the initial dealings have occurred through a third party, such as a broker or financial adviser, even if this third party has subsequently ceased trading or was not authorised or regulated by the FCA.

If you have suffered financial loss as a result of your SIPP being used to invest with Store First Ltd then please call us on 0800 152 2620 for free and without obligation advice.

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Mis-selling or mis-management by a SIPP Operator?

Have you suffered financial losses on a SIPP operated by a SIPP operator? If so, then you may have grounds for bringing a No Win No Fee claim.

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Mis-sold or mis-managed investment or pension?

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