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23 May 2017 | Comment | Article by Neil Stockdale

SFO opens investigation into storage pod investments

The Serious Fraud Office (‘SFO’) has announced today that it launched an investigation into the Capita Oak Pension and Henley Retirement Benefit schemes as well as other storage pod investment schemes. The investigation also includes the Westminster Pension Scheme and Trafalgar Multi Asset Fund.

Over a thousand individual investors may have been affected by an alleged fraud involving over £120million.

Those who invested in these schemes may have done so through a Self-Invested Personal Pension, otherwise known as a SIPP.

How Storage Pod Schemes Work

Typically, investors were cold called by unregulated introducers and persuaded through the use of high pressure sales tactics to transfer their traditional private or occupational pension funds into a SIPP which would allow them to invest into storage pod schemes. The idea behind storage pod investments was that investors would purchase one or more “pods” within a larger self-storage facility. When the pods were rented out the investor would make a profit on their investment.. Often investors were paid cash incentives and promised guaranteed returns.

In some cases the investor is completely unaware of how poorly their investment is performing because the SIPP provider may send statements that show the original value of the investment instead of its current market value. Anyone who has invested in a SIPP of any kind should check that their pensions are safe.

The investigation is being assisted by Project Bloom, a government led task force that has been investigating pension fraud since 2015. The SFO hasn’t provided any further information but it is urging those who invested in these schemes to complete a questionnaire.

While not all SIPPs are bad, storage pod pension investments are not regulated and so are inherently riskier than traditional pensions. These are not the only types of SIPP that have been identified as having been mis-sold. For more information and a  list of the other types of SIPPs that have been identified as being mis-sold, please visit our mis-sold pensions page.

Were you encouraged to invest your private or occupational pension with Store First?

If you have lost money due to a storage pod investment Hugh James can help.

We represent clients who were advised or encouraged to transfer money out of their traditional pensions into a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) and to invest significant sums of money within storage pods.  For some, the investment was wholly unsuitable.

If you transferred your pension into a SIPP and invested into storage pods you may be entitled to compensation.

Our team of expert pension mis-selling solicitors will be able to guide you through the process of claiming compensation for losses that may have been caused as a result of the negligent advice of your financial advisor or the failings of your pension provided to undertake proper due diligence.

We have already successfully recovered compensation for a number of investors who alleged that they had been negligently advised by their independent financial advisors.

Our team will be able to advise you if you have a claim and can represent you on a no win, no fee basis. Contact us today for free initial advice.

Author bio

Neil is head of the firm’s group actions and financial mis-selling teams, specialising in handling claims for financial mis-selling relating to energy contracts, pensions, investments and timeshares.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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