On 17 February 2020, and following complaints in relation to historic high-risk non-standard investments, the directors of Guinness Mahon Trust Corporation Limited (GMTC), a firm authorised and regulated by the FCA, appointed Adam Stephens and Nick Myers of Smith & Williamson LLP as Joint Administrators (administrators). The administrators have immediately sold the SIPP business to Hartley Pensions Limited (Hartley), another firm authorised and regulated by the FCA.
If you are a client of GMTC, the administrators will be writing to you shortly to explain what this means for you and what action you should take. If you do not receive a letter from the administrators in the next 7 working days, you should contact the administrators.
Sale of the GMTC Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) business to Hartley Pensions Limited
Immediately following appointment, the administrators sold the GMTC SIPP business to Hartley Pensions Limited (Hartley). The assets held within each GMTC SIPP will transfer to a Hartley SIPP and will 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 FCA. More information about Hartley can be found on its website.
The GMTC business and administration staff have transferred to Hartley and so if you have any questions about your SIPP please use your usual contact details for GMTC.
Why GMTC has entered administration
GMTC received complaints about historic high-risk non-standard investments (NSIs) and the lack of due diligence that GMTC had carried out before accepting these NSIs into customers’ SIPPs. Following professional advice sought by GMTC about its liabilities arising from existing and potential claims, the Company’s directors were advised that GMTC was insolvent and should be placed into administration to provide protection for the clients and creditors.
What is included in the sale to Hartley
The sale includes the GMTC Limited SIPP business, and certain assets. It does not include the legal entity Guinness Mahon Trust Corporation Limited which remains in administration. If you have further questions about specific assets that are being transferred to Hartley, you can contact Smith & Williamson LLP by email or by phone on: +44 121 710 5245.
How does the sale affect my Small Self-Administered Scheme (SSAS)?
These products, which are administered by a separate company called Pan Trustees Ltd, and are regulated by The Pensions Regulator are not entering administration.
What to do if you already have a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service (the Ombudsman Service)
If you already have a claim with the Ombudsman Service, you don’t need to take any action at the moment. The Ombudsman Service will be in touch with you shortly to tell you what the next step will be.
Can I still make a complaint?
Yes, complaints can be made directly to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). The section below provides more details about the FSCS and where you can obtain more information.
What is the FSCS and will I be eligible for compensation?
The 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 can bring claims to the FSCS up to the limit of £85,000.
The FSCS is accepting claims and any right that former customers may have to bring a claim against GMTC to the FSCS will be unaffected by their decision to move their SIPP to Hartley or an alternative provider.
Do I need to use a third party to make a claim?
Claims management companies (CMCs) may approach customers of GMTC offering help to bring claims against it. Be cautious if you are approached by one of these companies.
For the vast majority of GMTC’s customers, there is no benefit in involving a third party in making a claim and you will be charged for their services. Any customer who believes they have a complaint against the firm should contact the free to consumer services of the FSCS in the first instance.
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 GMTC, Smith & Williamson LLP or any other company claiming to be involved in the GMTC administration, please end the call and call the administrators or Hartley Pensions using the number above.