Carey Pensions has found itself in hot water in recent years for their conduct regarding their mishandling of client pensions in the self-invested personal pensions (Sipps). Here’s what you need to know about the Carey Pensions Sipp.
Since 2009, Carey Pensions has been offering Sipps to unsuitable individuals, mishandling their money and often falling short of necessary standards.
In order to draw in new clients, Carey Pensions worked with unregulated introducers. The introducers cold called many people and convinced them to invest in a Carey Pensions Sipp. The introducers used a common scam technique of offering a free pension review, which you can read about here.
Commercial Land and Property Brokers (CL&P)
One unregulated introducer working with Carey Pensions was CL&P. Operating out of Spain, this overseas company would offer consumers high risk, unregulated investments through a Carey Pensions Sipp. However, these investments were sold to the customer as a guaranteed way to make easy money for no risk.
In 2012, a massive 30 percent of the firm’s revenue came via business from CL&P brokers. This revelation came in addition to the fact that Carey CEO Christine Hallet was aware that Store First was a product of CLP, who gained commission on such.
Store First and other investments
The unregulated introducers persuaded investors to purchase a wide variety of products through the SIPP. A notable investment was the Store First storage pods. Clients would be told that self-storage was an easy way to make money. The simple plan was to rent out individual storage pods to secure steady, high returns.
Other products pushed included Australian farmland, stock investments and assorted ‘green’ investments. Despite the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) stating that Sipp providers had a duty to warn clients against placing money in such unregulated, unsuitable investments, Carey Pensions fell short of such expectations.
Carey Pensions claimed that they were not responsible for the failing of clients’ investments. However, the FOS received and upheld a great number of claims against them.
In 2017, Carey Pensions were in the spotlight again following an investigation by BBC Radio 4’s consumer affairs programme,’You and Yours’. Their investigation revealed that at least a dozen investors had received “long and threatening” letters from the pension provider’s law firm.
These letters directed the individuals to withdraw from the FOS complain process before the final judgments were released to become binding and offered much smaller compensation. They also attempted to push the clients into signing Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA). This prevented clients from talking about the situation. The attempt to silence the scam victims evidently backfired as it increased the focus on the firm by a great deal.
Carey Pensions losses
In the midst of the many ongoing legal proceedings, Carey Pensions also posted financial losses in consecutive years, leading to a search for a buyer of the company in early 2018. In October, the company was sold to STM Group. STM Group is linked to mis-selling schemes such as Harlequin Properties, which you can read about here.
One of such legal proceedings has been a high profile case this year. The case involved lorry driver Russell Adams. Mr Adams was offered a £4,000 inducement to invest his £50,000 pension into Store First. He lost his entire pension after putting it into the Carey Pensions Sipp.
We are currently awaiting a decision on the case, which is expected to be released early 2020.
Did you move your pension into a Carey Pension Sipp? Get in contact with our pension experts for a free consultation.