Following discussions with the Financial Conduct Authority, on 11 June 2019, the sole director of GPC SIPP Limited, a firm authorised and regulated by the FCA, appointed Adam Stephens and Henry Shinners of Smith & Williamson LLP as joint administrators.
If you are a client of GPC SIPP Limited (GPC), the joint administrators will contact you shortly to explain what this means for you and what action you should take. The administrators are continuing to accept contributions into the SIPPs (self-invested personal pension) and SSASs (small self-administered schemes) operated by GPC.
For more information contact your usual relationship manager at the Company first as they are best placed to deal with all questions about your SIPP and SSAS.
To contact the administrators:
- visit: www.smithandwilliamson.com/en/services/restructuring-and-recovery-services/gpc-sipp-limited/
- call: 020 7131 8723, or
- email: [email protected]
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 GPC SIPP Limited, Smith & Williamson LLP or any other company claiming to be involved in GPC’s administration, please end the call and call the administrators back using the number above.
What is GPC?
GPC is a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) operator, based in Blackburn. It also provides administration for a small number of SSAS, regulated by The Pensions Regulator.
Why has GPC entered administration?
Following discussion with the FCA, the sole director of GPC appointed Adam Stephens and Henry Shinners of Smith & Williamson LLP as joint administrators. This was following the acknowledgment by the firm that it was cash flow insolvent.
Between 2009 and 2012, GPC accepted high-risk non-standard investments (NSI) into its SIPPs. A high proportion of the NSIs it accepted were into the failed Harlequin property investment schemes. GPC has been subject to a court claim from 141 clients seeking compensation from the firm because of failings around the due diligence carried out by GPC before accepting these NSIs into the SIPPs. There are also a significant number of SIPP due diligence complaints against the firm relating to NSIs which are currently being considered by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
The resolution of these complaints have been delayed by various similar cases across the industry being progressed through the Courts, including a judicial review of an Ombudsman Service decision. GPC has expended significant resources in dealing with these claims and complaints which caused the firm to enter administration.
What should I do about my complaint?
The administrators will write to you to confirm what you should do.
Can I still make a complaint?
Complaints can be made directly to the FSCS. The administrators are writing to all clients with instructions from the FSCS as to how to do this.
Is there FSCS coverage?
The FSCS protects consumers when financial services firms fail. It is the compensation scheme for customers of UK authorised financial services firms, this does not extend to clients who have invested in SSASs. It has eligibility criteria in respect the activities and the people who are covered.
Eligible clients will be able to bring claims against the FSCS up to the limit of £85,000.
You can obtain further information about the FSCS on its website.
What plans do Smith & Williamson have as administrator?
The joint administrators will continue to operate the SIPP and SSAS business as normal as it seeks a buyer for the business. The existing staff are being retained by the administrator and will continue to operate the SIPPs and SSASs as they normally do. This includes allowing existing customers to continue to make contributions into their SIPPs and SSASs as usual, and should you wish to make particular investments with these contributions you should contact your usual relationship manager at the Company. Payments will continue to be made in respect of SIPPs which are in drawdown.
What about the SIPP assets?
The money and assets held in the SIPPs and SSASs are held in trust by a trustee company, Guardian Pension Trustee Limited, which is not entering administration. Guardian Pension Trustee Limited is not authorised or regulated by the FCA.
What if I have a SSAS with GPC SIPP Ltd?
A small self-administered pension scheme (SSAS) is a type of employer-sponsored defined contribution workplace pension that can give the employer additional investment flexibility. See more information on what a SSAS is and how they work.
The administrators will write to you to confirm what you should do next if you have a SSAS. For more information, contact them using the contact details above.
Do I need to use a third party to make a claim?
We are aware that some companies have been approaching customers of GPC SIPP Limited, offering to help them bring claims against the company. Be cautious if you are approached by one of these companies. For the vast majority of GPC’s clients, 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.
I have heard that my SIPP has been sold to Hartley, what does this mean?
On 12 August 2019 the SIPP and SSAS businesses of GPC SIPP Ltd were sold to Hartley Pensions Limited (Hartley). Following the acquisition, the GPC SIPPs and SSASs will be closed and the assets transferred to new products established for this purpose by Hartley. Hartley is a pension provider authorised and regulated by the FCA.
Hartley will write to SIPP and SSAS clients subject to this deal. The rights of any GPC SIPP customers to make a claim against GPC to the FSCS is unaffected. See more on the FSCS website.
What is included in the sale to Hartley?
The sale includes the GPC SIPP and SSAS businesses, and certain assets. It does not include the legal entity GPC SIPP Ltd, which remains in administration.
The business of GPC SIPP is providing technical and administration services to Guardian Pension Trustees Limited, which acts as the corporate trustee to these schemes. The money and assets held in the SIPPs and SSASs are held in trust by Guardian Pension Trustees Limited, which has not entered into administration. Guardian Pension Trustee Limited is not authorised nor regulated by the FCA.