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Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) – How to tell if you’ve been mis-sold a pension, and how to get your money back.

Thousands of UK citizens have been persuaded by Independent Financial Advisers (“IFA”) to transfer their retirement money out of safe investments and into high-risk, often unregulated investments via a Self-Invested Personal Pension (“SIPP”) with the promise of incredible returns.

The sad reality is that these investments rarely give the incredible returns that are promised, and in fact often completely fail resulting in investors losing their entire pension pot.

What’s more concerning is that the vast majority of people who are affected have no idea that they have lost substantial sums from their pension pot. Why would they – when they are receiving annual statements and correspondence from the pension provider falsely claiming that the investment is secure and that the investment value is the equivalent or more than what they originally invested.

The truth is that in most cases the investment is WORTHLESS.

This information factsheet provides guidance on how to tell if you have been mis-sold a pension, and more importantly – what options are available to you to get your money back.

What is a SIPP?

SIPPs are a ‘do-it-yourself’ pensions that give you the freedom to choose what investments you want to put your savings into and to keep control of your savings.

The big selling point of a SIPP is arguably that you can also use them to put your money into slightly more exotic investments, like commercial property. As all investments are kept within the SIPP-wrapper, they enjoy the same tax benefits as investments made through a standard personal pension.

Who are SIPPs suitable for?

  • Sophisticated or experienced investors
  • People comfortable with their own investment decisions and who want a wider range of investments
  • People who feel comfortable managing their own investment
  • People with a larger pension ‘pot’ or who will be making significant pension contributions



Examples of mis-sold investments

The FCA regulates the sale of mainstream investments, the stocks, shares and funds that you may normally choose to invest in via your SIPP. However, there are a host of unregulated investments which investors have been advised into investing their funds.

  • The Resort Group
  • Store Pods
  • Green Oil
  • Los Pandos Development
  • Global Forestry
  • Cape Verde
  • Elysian Fuels
  • Global Cure Environmental Investment
  • Parking investments
  • Australian Farmland
  • Overseas Property Development

These investments are not suitable for the vast majority of investors; they are high risk, speculative and can be extremely illiquid – in other words, you can’t sell them on easily.

Red flag indicators

This is a non-exhaustive list of red flag indicators which may indicate that you are the victim of a mis-sold pension. If you answer yes to one or more of these indicators then we would urge you to seek immediate legal advice.

  • Were you cold-called out of the blue by a company offering you a free pension review?
  • Were you invited to attend a seminar where you were given fancy sales literature and a presentation from someone claiming to be an ‘expert’?
  • Were you given a sales pitch claiming that this opportunity was too good to be missed?
  • Were you informed that your existing personal or workplace pension was underperforming?
  • Were you guaranteed high annual returns on your investment (8-15% per annum)
  • Were you offered a financial incentive to transfer your pension?
  • Were you told that by transferring your pension into a SIPP you would be able to take this before you reached 55 years of age?

What are my options?

If you are concerned that you may have been mis-sold an investment, then don’t panic. It may be possible to pursue a compensation claim against the IFA involved in the investment or the provider of your SIPP.

The first step should be to contact a specialist firm like Oakwood Solicitors who will investigate your pension FREE OF CHARGE and advice you if you have a claim. If you have a claim then Oakwood Solicitors will handle the whole claims process for you and will offer advice, support and guidance every step of the way.

Oakwood Solicitors will act on your behalf on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis, giving you complete peace of mind that you will only pay a fee if your claim is successful.

If after investigating your pension we confirm that there is no loss, then you will have the reassurance that your pension is safe and secure, and will have obtained this reassurance completely free of charge.

If you prefer, you can raise an initial complaint with the IFA or SIPP provider yourself but many people prefer to instruct a specialist firm with experience of handling SIPP complaints to ensure they achieve the best possible outcome.

If the adviser who sold you the investment is no longer trading or does not have the financial means to pay you compensation then the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (‘FSCS’) assumes responsibility for the adviser and will be responsible for the payment of compensation.



Why should I use a solicitor?

Pensions are complex. To be able to identify a problem with your pension you have to firstly know what you are looking for. Once you have identified what you are looking for, you then need to be able to articulate the problem with reference to any legal or regulatory frameworks.

By using a solicitor who is a specialist in pension miss-selling you will ensure that you put your best case forward and maximise your chance of success.

We have seen numerous cases in the past where mis-selling victims have pursued a legitimate claim themselves, only to have it turned down due to a technicality or because key grounds have not been particularised.

You have a higher chance of success by working with claims experts, who will ensure that there are no technical grounds for turning down your claim and put you in the best possible position to receive what you are owed.

How long do I have to make a claim?

Time is of the essence when it comes to raising these complaints, as there are strict time limits in place. Generally speaking, you either have six years to claim from the date the SIPP was established or the date of the transfer of your pension.

However, if you are outside this period it may still be possible to make a complaint provided that it is within three years of the date you knew or could reasonably have known that you had cause for complaint.

Oakwood Solicitors Ltd


Why choose Oakwood Solicitors?

You will have a dedicated advisor who will see your claim through from start to finish, assisting you in the event of any queries or issues you may have. Your case-handler will also continue to provide regular updates until the conclusion of your claim, ensuring the process is as stress-free and effortless as possible.


Junaid Sohail



If you think you may have an SIPP claim or if you just want peace of mind that your pension is safe and secure, we would urge you to contact us on 0113 200 9787 or Pensions@oakwoodsolicitors.co.uk for a free, no-obligation, review of your pension.

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Danielle Lightfoot

Solicitor and Head of Financial Litigation

0113 200 9740

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