Pension mis-selling is unfortunately an escalating problem in the UK. Following the relaxation of pension rules, over the last decade, thousands of consumers have suffered financial loss by reason of inadequate pensions advice. This is a complex legal area, requiring a detailed knowledge of the regulatory framework and the jurisdictional rules of the appropriate redress forums to achieve the best results for clients. We offer a unique Pensions advice scheme called Pensions Legal Solutions to provide specialist independent advice and representation at an affordable cost. For full details click here. Relevant issues include:
Was the decision to alter pension planning wrong? Many consumers have switched their pension provision from long-established occupational or personal pension plans into more flexible arrangements including SIPPs (Self Invested Personal Pensions), SSASs (Small Self-Administered Schemes) and QROPSs (Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme). Whether this was the right decision depends on personal circumstances, benefits available under prior scheme and plans for the future. CCL has the expertise to assess the switch process, any advice or information received and identify whether a complaint is appropriate and against whom it ought to be directed.
Was an investment choice unsuitable? Many investment products within newly formed SIPPs and SSASs are clearly inappropriate for consumer pension schemes and have received extensive adverse publicity. These include off-shore forestry, storage units, fractional ownership of holiday accommodation and some unregulated corporate bonds. However, it can often be unclear exactly how a pension fund has been invested and whether an investment is or is not performing. CCL has experience of investigating the structure and features of numerous investment types to identify issues of complaint. Problem issues can include excessive risk, inadequate diversification, unnecessary fees, and selection of illiquid assets.
Which firm / organisation ought to bear responsibility? There can be numerous organisations involved in a pension transfer and investment situation. This can include an IFA (Independent Financial Adviser) who ought to bear responsibility for advising a client but may sometimes seek to limit their advice to a particular issue, perhaps excluding responsibility for the decision to switch itself. There may also be an unregulated introducer or adviser involved meaning that access to the regulatory protections of the Financial Ombudsman Service / FSCS is limited. One or other of these firms may have gone out of business. Other parties may involve a SIPP or SSAS Trustee or Provider and / or a Discretionary Portfolio Manager. Claims against such organisations are possible but require a clear understanding of the extent of their responsibility in the process. CCL can advise on which organisation ought to bear the responsibility for which part of the process and against whom a complaint has the best prospect of success.
What is the appropriate forum for redress? There are different options available for seeking compensation and CCL have the expertise to identify which is the most appropriate route. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) can be approached in situations where an advising firm has gone out of business and is classed as “in default”. In other situations, a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Pensions Ombudsman may be appropriate. Alternatively, it may be necessary to use the Courts to seek redress. CCL has expertise in the jurisdictional rules, processes and compensatory limits for each process and can tailor bespoke claims to maximise prospects of success.