Hundreds of disgruntled Sipp customers have had their case taken on by a firm of solicitors
A solicitor firm has filed 500 complaints against Liberty Sipp to the Financial Ombudsman and called for investors to be put back into the financial position they were in before they invested with the firm.
The Bury-based pension provider – which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and boasts a five-star rating from research company Defaqto – offers direct and advised clients access to a wide variety of investments, including property.
But solicitor's Anthony Philip James and Co. (APJ) claims Liberty Sipp failed in its duty to protect its customers by accepting a high volume of transfers from an unregulated introducer. In many cases, investments were not suitable because they were too high risk or illiquid. The 500 cases have a collective value of £18 million.
The law firm has already issued 30 complaints about Liberty Sipp to the courts on behalf of clients whose money was invested into a range of higher risk sectors, including ethical forestry and global plantations, following introductions from unregulated introducers. It claims these cases are now being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Glyn Taylor, solicitor at APJ, comments: 'We’re pleased that initial indicators from the FOS suggest it is now considering the Liberty Sipp cases, prompting us to issue this significant number of cases. We’re hopeful we will now get decisions on Liberty Sipp cases from the FOS, helping us to gain the compensation for our clients that they deserve.'
However, John Fox, managing director of Liberty Sipp, disputes APJ’s claims. He says: 'Another week, another misleading press release from a claims management company attacking the financial services industry.
'APJ, in particular, has form. Three months ago, it claimed to be pursuing ‘hundreds' of claims against Liberty in the courts. That approach came to naught so it’s now bombarding the FOS.
'Such vigour says nothing about APJ’s case, which is false. But it speaks volumes about the motivating power of APJ’s fee structure, which charges clients it ensnares fees of more than 36 per cent.'
The FOS was unable to confirm its position on complaints against Liberty Sipp.
This article first appeared on our sister website Moneywise