On 18 September 2019 the directors of Berkeley Burke SIPP Administration Limited ('BBSAL'), a firm authorised and regulated by the FCA, appointed Adrian Allen and Diana Frangou of RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP as Joint Administrators ('administrators'). This appointment affects no other companies within the Berkeley Burke Group.
The firm is entering administration because it can no longer afford to defend redress claims made against it. Those claims relate to the acceptance of high-risk non-standard investments (NSIs) into its non-advised SIPPs between 2010 and 2012.
If you are a customer of BBSAL, the Joint Administrators will be writing to you shortly to explain what this means for you and what action you should take.
To contact the administrators:
Sale of the BBSAL SIPP business to Hartley Pensions Limited
Immediately following appointment, the Joint Administrators sold BBSAL SIPP business to Hartley Pensions Limited ('Hartley') and the assets held within each BBSAL SIPP will ultimately transfer to a Hartley SIPP and be held for customers, unless they contact Hartley to say they wish to take up another option.
Hartley is a pension provider authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. More information about Hartley can be found on its website www.hartleypensions.com
Any enquiries or questions regarding your SIPP should, in future, be directed to Hartley:
- In writing at: Hartley Pensions Limited, 5th Floor, 25 Marsh Street, Bristol BS1 4AQ
- By telephone number: 0345 504 0582
- By email: [email protected]
Who are the FSCS and will I be eligible for compensation?
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protects consumers when financial services firms fail. It is the compensation scheme for customers of UK authorised financial services firms. It has eligibility criteria in respect of the activities and the people who are covered.
Eligible customers will be able to bring claims against the FSCS up to the limit of £85,000.
You can obtain further information about the FSCS and claims relating to BBSAL at www.fscs.org.uk/failed-firms/berkeley-burke.
The FSCS is accepting claims and any right that former customers may have to make a claim against BBSAL to the FSCS will be unaffected by their decision to move their SIPP to Hartley or an alternative provider.
I have a complaint with the FOS what do I have to do?
If you already have a claim with the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), you don’t need to take any action at the moment. The FOS will be in touch with you shortly to ask permission to transfer your claim documents to the FSCS. When the FSCS receives your file, it will contact you directly to ask you to submit your claim. There should be no need to submit all of the claim documents again.
Do I need to use a third party to make a claim?
Claims management companies may approach customers of BBSAL, offering to help them bring claims against it. Be cautious if you are approached by one of these companies. For the vast majority of BBSAL’s customers, there is no benefit in involving a third party in making a claim. Any customer who believes they have a complaint against the firm should contact the FSCS in the first instance.
You should note that you can approach the FSCS for free, if you wish them to consider and review your case and any claim that you believe you have against BBSAL.
Being Alert to Scams
All customers should remain alert to the possibility of fraud. If you are cold called by someone claiming to be from BBSAL, RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP or any other company claiming to be involved in the BBSAL administration, please end the call and call the administrators or Hartley Pensions using the number above.
For further information on how to protect yourself from the most common types of scams visit https://www.fca.org.uk/consumers/protect-yourself-scams or https://www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart.
Why has BBSAL entered administration?
Between 2010 and 2012, BBSAL accepted high-risk non-standard investments (NSIs) into its non-advised SIPPs. In 2017 the Financial Ombudsman Service (‘FOS’) found against it in a complaint relating to the due diligence carried out before accepting one of these NSIs and ordered it to pay redress to the customer.
BBSAL launched a judicial review of the Ombudsman decision, but was unsuccessful. In addition, it was facing similar claims from 28 customers through Court action under a group litigation order (‘GLO’). While BBSAL was given leave to appeal the judicial review by the Court of Appeal, and it had planned to pursue a defence in the GLO, the costs of doing so were prohibitive.
Since BBSAL could not afford to continue with the litigation, and was facing significant potential claims, the Directors resolved that they had no alternative but to place the company into administration.
Does BBSAL’s administration affect other SIPP operators?
On 30 October 2018, we wrote to the CEOs of SIPP operators to draw to their attention to a number of pending civil claims in the High Court, together with the judgment handed down in the case of R (Berkeley Burke SIPP Administration Limited) v. Financial Ombudsman Service Limited. These cases deal, among other things, with SIPP operators’ due diligence obligations when accepting customers’ investments, and reference the Principles for Businesses and / or other rules set out in our Handbook. Our messages to CEOs of SIPP operators remain valid.