26 April 2018 | Comment | Article by Neil Stockdale

23 July: deadline to join Group Litigation Order against SIPP provider Berkeley Burke

Hugh James, along with Wixted & Co have been successful in our attempts to secure a Group Litigation Order in our joint case against Berkeley Burke.

A Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) is a pension scheme that gives its owner the autonomy to make their own decisions regarding where their pension is invested. There have been a number of cases where consumers have transferred their safe and secure personal pensions into SIPP schemes such as the one offered by Berkeley Burke. Although the freedom of deciding where to invest was desirable to a number of Berkeley Burkes clients, their biggest fears soon became a reality when they saw their pension pots dwindle.

A popular investment for a number of Berkley Burke’s clients was the purchase of storage units supplied by Store First. Catchy marketing slogans and guarantees of buy-back options enticed a number of clients to invest the majority of their life savings into unregulated and highly speculative investments.

Due to the volume and similarities of many of our clients’ cases, we at Hugh James believe that litigation in the form of a Group Litigation Order would prove advantageous for our clients.

A Group Litigation Order (GLO) is a way of forming a coordinated group action when cases share common legal and factual issues. GLO’s allow for claims to be managed collectively with a handful of litigants being selected as lead cases. These lead cases will then be used to resolve common generic issues that occur. A register will be served to the court naming all parties involved in the GLO. Parties can be added or removed from this register up until a predetermined cut-off date, which has yet to be announced.

There are several advantages that are now available to our clients following our successful application. There are still, of course, certain risks as is the case with any form of litigation. However, the nature of a GLO allows for these risks to be spread out amongst a number of litigants. Clients will benefit from shared expertise and reduced costs.

The cases that have been grouped together in this particular GLO tend to follow a common trend;

  • The client is approached by an unregulated introducer, who advises them to transfer out of their current pension plan.
  • The client’s money is transferred into a Berkeley Burke SIPP. Administration charges and SIPP establishment fees apply.
  • The money in the SIPP account is invested into Store First, under the premise that the store pods will generate rental income.
  • The investments often generate little or no income. The client’s money is tied up in an unprofitable asset. The client remains liable to pay annual administration fees to Berkeley Burke.

If you believe that you have had a similar experience to the details listed above then there could be an opportunity for you to join the GLO application.

Our team of Financial Mis-selling lawyers will be able to guide you through the process of claiming.

Contact us today for free, no obligation advice.

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