Scots victims of virtually worthless “storage pod” pension investments are fighting back and earning thousands of pounds in compensation.
Poor financial advice has left Scots out of pocket after they were persuaded to invest precious pension funds in schemes which turned out to have little or no value.
In some cases, unsuspecting investors were told they would receive high, guaranteed, returns by transferring decades-old investments from the security of workplace pensions, some of them in secure, Defined Benefit (Final Salary schemes) and existing personal pensions.
However, some Self-Invested Pension Plans – known as SIPPs – which enable investors to place their pension pot in a range of investments and products including storage facilities, have been found sadly lacking when it comes to providing the promised returns.
It’s meant that many have seen their savings dwindle, leaving them facing retirement with far less money than they had hoped.
Now, however, investors across Scotland are receiving up to £50,000 in compensation after taking their case to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
Compensation expertshave been helping Scots recover their losses. Partner Ken Hanning said: “Clients have told us that they were promised high returns based on promises of rent yields. But not only did these not materialise, the storage pods themselves ended up being declared worthless by some pension companies, and by compensation bodies.
“Some of the individual stories that we have heard have been heart-breaking,” he added.
“Clients are very distressed. They are often very embarrassed that they’ve been taken in like this – yet they shouldn’t be. They feel foolish that they were persuaded to move their money from the security of a good pension plan into something that has turned out to be worthless.
“There’s also a lot of anger that they were advised to do something and it’s not worked out for them. When they do receive compensation, they are sometimes overwhelmed to receive a sum that’s life changing.”
Many members of pension schemes were targeted by “cold callers” and persuaded to transfer their pension monies into storage pod investments. The Serious Fraud Office announced last May that it was carrying out an investigation into storage unit investment schemes, amid concerns that up to £120m may have been invested in them.
Last year the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said Perth-based Douglas Baillie Ltd and Precise Advice Partnership of Glasgow were among 31 businesses which it had placed in default – when a firm is believed to be unable to meet compensation claims from disgruntled customers. The move opened the door for claimants to take steps towards
Mr Hanning said some investors who lost thousands of pounds as a result of poor advice are now receiving better news in the form of compensation. They include one Glasgow couple who have received £200,000 between them following technical analysis and representations from Assist Claims, who established that two separate adviser firms were involved. Another Glasgow customer recently received £50,000.
In another case, a Galashiels investor who was a client of the now closed firm, The Pensions Office, was awarded £34,100 after Assist Claims fought their case.
Ken Hanning continued: “People contact us and are incredibly distraught. But we remind them that they are not alone. We have represented everyone from solicitors to even financial advisers who have been caught out in this way.
“People can make a claim to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme themselves, so they don’t have to pay a fee.
“However, there can be some quite difficult technical arguments to go through, and many opt to come to us to help.
“When they do receive compensation, they are often overwhelmed with relief.”
If you have been advised by a regulated financial advisor to move pension funds into a ‘storage pod’ style scheme, you could be entitled to compensation.
Contact Assist.Claims free on 0800 254 5066, email firstname.lastname@example.org or