Belfast Telegraph

Why there could still be hope if you’re facing up to a pension loss

Platform

By Chris Bryans, chief executive, Richmond Wealth of Holywood

Across Northern Ireland, Self-Invested Personal Pension schemes (SIPPs) are causing a lot of sleepless nights. Are you one of the many lifelong savers having nightmares that your hard-earned savings are at risk? Or already lost due to unsuitable pensions advice to invest in property overseas? 

Resignation is a natural reaction — feeling there is nothing you can do and no one you can turn to for help; that you will have to live with the loss. But do you?

My advice: take heart and take action right away. In our experience, working on behalf of clients who have been hit hard by mis-sold SIPPs, it may not be too late to recover your lost pension savings.

You could be entitled to compensation. We have become increasingly concerned about the number of people whose life-savings are now in peril due to poor and unsuitable pensions advice. Mis-selling of SIPP schemes it seems has become an epidemic because of the investments being recommended.  For inexperienced investors this is putting their entire retirement at risk.

We are committed to help you put things right and protect your interests. 

If you have doubts about existing SIPP investments, particularly involving offshore property or other unusual investments, Richmond Wealth should be your first port of call.

Or, if you have lost money already, there may be hope. Enlist our expertise to seek compensation and have the peace of mind that you are dealing with an ethical firm dedicated to acting with integrity and transparency.

Why are SIPPs so vulnerable to abuse?

SIPPs are an HMRC-approved personal pension plan which allows individuals to take ownership of their pension, make their own investment decisions from a full range of options and hold multiple investments and products. 

Because this scheme offers so much flexibility, it can be very attractive to sophisticated investors.

Unfortunately, SIPPs can be attractive to the less scrupulous financial and pension advisers too, because they can persuade inexperienced investors to buy unsuitable investments that pay high commissions.

For the ordinary retail investor, investing their pension savings into unregulated investments, including offshore property, is rarely a safe or suitable thing to do. 

Which is why we never advise our clients to invest their savings into esoteric unregulated investments.

Risky business

Investigating this poor advice, we have seen the full range of mis-selling tactics used to entrap investors. 

Promises of high returns, guaranteed income and immediate property resales at significant profit. The promised guaranteed, low-cost mortgages never materialised and many people have found their pension savings used to buy a fraction of a hotel room.

Why did the advisers recommended SIPPs — because this allowed safe pensions to be invested in all manner of unregulated investments.

Investors were promised this would be very lucrative, but not told it was also highly risky. In our view, too much of a gamble for the ordinary saver.  

Unfortunately, the high-risk nature of the investments was not the only detail omitted. If the high commissions being paid on the hotel rooms and offshore apartments had been properly disclosed, savers might have thought twice about investing. 

If investors had been told they could have trouble selling one quarter of a hotel room, thousands of miles away or that they would have to pay SIPP fees out of their own pockets because the rent didn’t cover the costs of running the plan, again they would have thought twice.

The worst-case scenario? When savings someone has spent a lifetime accumulating, are invested into property abroad which then goes up in smoke. Some savers have lost everything: their rainy day fund, inheritance for children and grandchildren. Their own security and living standards are at risk.

Those out for a fast buck and hefty commission earned from unregulated investments arranged through SIPPs didn’t stop to think of the stress and anxiety they would cause to ordinary savers.

The danger signs

If you have invested and any of the following danger signs applied to the selling process, there is a good chance you’re a candidate for compensation: 

- Did you lack understanding of SIPPs and the process of investment?

- Did you feel under pressure to opt for an investment you did not really need or want? Was there a hard sell?

- Were you given information that you now know to be poor or incorrect? If you were persuaded that a SIPP scheme would be more suitable for your current and future pension needs than your current secure pension plan, that is mis-selling.

- Was there a lack of transparency about fees? Did the advisors spell out the additional costs attached to the investment?

- Were you warned about the risky nature of investing in the offshore scheme and the potential financial loss?

- Have you been advised to invest in Cape Verde, Storage Pods, Harlequin or Ethical Forestry?  These are some of the unsuitable investments for which compensation is available.

Get help right away

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, we strongly recommend you seek immediate help from a professional resource you can trust. 

It is essential you only work with financial advisers, such as Richmond Wealth, who are fully authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority to advise on investments. 

We have extensive experience in advising on SIPP claims.

That way you have the assurance the right people are on your side. We urge you not to delay if you are in any way unsure about your pension investments.

Phone us on 028 9532 0333 or contact us at pensionshelp@richmondwealth.co.uk.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph