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Mis-Sold SIPPs – Serenus Consulting and Store First Limited

In recent years, thousands of consumers have been encouraged to swap their traditional pension pots for a SIPP. This has proved to be problematic, with many complaining that they’ve lost money due to poor financial advice, or inadequate information about what their new pension product entails.

Several financial advisors are collapsing in the UK, due to complaints made about SIPP mis-selling. Serenus Consulting Limited is a prime example. Here’s more information about them, and the failed investment associated with a SIPP they were selling – Store First Limited.

Hitting the headlines in 2015

Serenus Consulting first came to public attention in a big way back in 2015, due to a spat with Phoenix Life. Jim Bell, the director of Serenus, complained that Phoenix Life wouldn’t supply relevant information about a client’s pension scheme.

Bell stated that he found the situation “truly offensive” and that he regarded it as “a reflection on the state of the UK pension market where a company like Phoenix Life can accuse a fully licenced FCA company like mine of being fraudulent.”

When questioned about their decision to withhold the information, a spokesperson for Phoenix Life said that Bell’s request raised suspicions as “Serenus has links to… a well-documented pensions liberation firm.”

The issue was finally resolved amicably the year after.

Problematic SIPP product

Serenus Consulting received media attention again a few years later. They had recommended a SIPP product to its clients, which was invested in Store First Limited – a storage pod scheme that offered investors a guaranteed 8% return in the first two years. This scheme also promised that the return would rise to 10% in years three and four.

The investment gave clients the option to put their pension savings towards buying the self-storage containers, then either renting them out, or re-selling them. However, Store First Limited never managed to fulfil its promises, leaving thousands of investors out of pocket.

Top Gear presenter Quentin Wilson is one of Store First’s best-known investors, and even featured in some of their promotional material. He’s since stated that he believes he’s lost thousands as a result.

What happened next?

Store First was wound up ‘in the public interest’ in 2019, and agreed to no longer sell their storage pods as an investment. However, this doesn’t resolve the issue for those with SIPPs tied up in previous investments made with the company.

It was around this time that the complaints started to come in regarding Serenus Consulting, and in particular, their mis-selling of SIPPs products. Increasing numbers of clients were discovering that their pension funds were adversely impacted by Store First’s poor performance, leaving them worried about their finances for the future.

In 2020, the FSCS declared Serenus Consulting to be in default, which enabled investors to make a claim. If you believe that you were mis-sold your SIPP by this firm, get in touch with our team today to find out more about seeking compensation.

Were you mis-sold your SIPP?

A poorly performing SIPP investment doesn’t automatically mean that you can make a claim. However, if you say yes to any of the points below, you may be in a position to be compensated for your loss.

  • Did you feel that the SIPP wasn’t explained properly to you? It was Serenus’ job to make sure you understood what you were investing into, and that you knew about all the fees involved.
  • Did you feel pressurised to switch your pension? A good financial advisor will never push you into making an investment you’re not comfortable with. It should be entirely your own choice – it’s their responsibility to ensure you have the information you need to make an informed decision.
  • Did they fail to ask about your personal circumstances? Serenus should have checked your current financial situation, and asked about your expectations for your retirement. That would have enabled them to recommend the right SIPPs for you.
  • Were you unaware of the risks? SIPPs funds can sometimes be put into in higher-risk investments, like Store First Ltd. These risks should have been fully explained to you.

Making a claim for a mis-sold SIPP

If you think that Serenus Consulting mis-sold your SIPP to you, you’re in a strong position to seek compensation for your financial losses, and Goodwin Barrett are here to help you get the money you deserve. To start the ball rolling, get in touch with our team today by calling us on 0808 163 1659 or email enquiries@goodwinbarrett.co.uk.

 

References

https://www.ftadviser.com/2015/11/12/pensions/personal-pensions/adviser-hits-back-at-phoenix-life-s-pension-scam-claim-KZla24RsR3XVPqvb9VNf2K/article.html

https://www.ftadviser.com/2016/03/31/pensions/personal-pensions/failure-to-communicate-at-heart-of-phoenix-life-row-TG1okIYBMgl13V9NqtfpiI/article.html

https://www.ftadviser.com/your-industry/2020/03/27/fscs-declares-eight-advice-firms-in-default/

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Darren Byworth

from York
got back
£23,000
for a mis sold SIPP

Michael Houston

from Scarborough
got back
£50,000
for a mis sold SIPP

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