Many of our clients have fallen victim to pension scams from overseas companies such as Brunel and Lewis. If you have dealt with this or a similar company, you may have fallen victim to mis-selling.
Brunel and Lewis
Brunel and Lewis is a Cyprus-based company. It claims to be a regulated insurance mediation company and offers a range of services. These services include PPI and extensive pension products. However, Brunel and Lewis is not regulated in the UK and it is not safe to make an investment through the company.
The company offers a number of investment options.
Self-invested personal pensions (Sipps)
Sipps are pensions aimed generally at higher net worth individuals. Clients are given more freedom to decide what products specifically to invest in.
Sipps have been present for nearly twenty years. However, there was a boom in their promotion after the government relaxed pension restrictions about a decade ago.
In recent times, they have received lots of scrutiny in the media. Articles focus on the fact that many of these investment wrappers are offered to unsuitable individuals. They also breach process and include high risk, unregulated products.
Small Self Administered Schemes (SSAS)
This pension type also claims to offer such as high investment flexibility and alternative benefits.
In early 2017, The Pensions Regulator published an article on their website about SSAS pensions. They stated that these have become the vehicle of choice for scammers. The regulator also said that there should be consideration to banning the setting up of new editions of this type of scheme.
Despite the well-documented cases of hundreds of thousands being scammed out of their pensions and high profile legal cases revolving around such, Sipps are deemed safer.
Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS)
In effect, it’s designed to be an overseas pension scheme that meets UK standards. It is designed for expatriates who plan to retire abroad. Unfortunately, however, these also often appear to be used for scams and are pushed to many unsuitable targets.
The Brunel and Lewis website does try hard to push their scheme, promising to offer “maximum tax efficiency to you, the beneficiary and ultimately to your heirs”. However, when it appears too good to be true, our clients have found that it usually is.
Unfortunately, all three of these schemes are inundated with claims regarding mis-sold pensions at this time. Brunel and Lewis appear to be offering all three to potential clients, despite it not even being within their area of expertise.
If you have been advised by Brunel and Lewis and are worried about your pension, get in contact today for a free consultation with our pension experts.