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Self storage pods – have you been swindled?

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Self-invested personal pension (SIPP) schemes can take many guises, and amongst the investment schemes on offer is the ability to invest money into storage pods, which are then rented out to the public. 

Unfortunately, many financial advisors and pension introducers, including Commercial Land and Property Brokers (CL&P Brokers), Douglas Baillie Limited and Green Church, have been caught out providing misleading and negligent financial advice to many people, by persuading them to invest their hard-earned pension in Store First Ltd – a self-storage pod company – via a Sipp scheme.

Pension holders were invited to invest in Store First Ltd by buying a storage space for the company to rent out, on behalf of the investor, to the general public.

Mis-sold storage pods

This investment was mis-sold to many, as it should have only been offered to sophisticated investors who earn over £100k a year, and who could financially afford to take the risk. Instead, it was offered to ordinary people following a cold call offering a free pension review.

Investors were informed that Store First would offer high and attractive returns compared to some safer investments. However such high returns never materialised, and many of the investments are now deemed to be worthless.

In a nutshell, Store First is high-risk, and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) consider it to be an unregulated investment.

Wind-up order?

The company had difficulty renting out space on their investors’ behalf, but they still charged fees. This has led to investor expenses exceeding any returns being received from the investment.

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

This could potentially lead to the Court making a winding up order against Store First Ltd. This could lead to Store First going into liquidation. Investors would be expected to suffer significant losses as a result.

In the event that Store First is wound up and the proceeds are not sufficient to cover the losses of all creditors, then the investor might be able to pursue a claim for compensation against their Independent Financial Advisor or SIPP provider.

Carey Pensions

Claims are currently being pursued against SIPP providers, Berkeley Burke and Carey Pensions in respect of Store First. In particular, Carey Pensions is currently facing claims from around 90 clients with liabilities worth up to £3 million. Claims are being pursued over due diligence of the SIPP provider regarding unregulated introducers selling the unregulated storage pods.

If you have invested any money into storage pods following a cold call, contact our team of experts. We may be able to pursue a claim on a No Win No Fee basis.