If you’ve transferred your Pension into a Self-Invested Personal Pension (‘SIPP’) then it may not be performing as well as you’d been promised.
What is a SIPP?
In the mid to late 2000’s many Financial Advisors and Brokers were contacting new and existing clients with the opportunity of a lifetime – to invest their frozen or sometimes even decreasing pension into a ‘new’ type of Pension, the Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP).
The benefits of a SIPP were clear – full access to your Pension to make investments you wanted to, and to make changes as and when you saw fit. This kind of flexibility appealed to many, especially as the types of investments offered within their SIPP promised excellent returns, sometimes up to 10 times that of their previous Pension, with limited risk. Or so we were told.
Although the SIPP sounds like a great idea, due to the inherent level of risk in having full control of your pension fund, it was recommended by the FCA that they be offered only to a ‘sophisticated investor’, or someone who would meet that criteria. Basically, someone who could afford to lose their investment, which of course does not apply to most.
So where’s the downside?
We all now know that the only way to get great returns on an investment is to take risk – something which the average pension holder is not prepared to do. Taking that kind of risk with our retirement would never even enter our minds.
Some Financial Advisors however made false claims about the expected performance of these investments, and even gave guarantees on investment returns, without completing a full and proper risk assessment. As a result, people were convinced that the SIPP was the best solution for them, and were encouraged to invest in Storage Units, Australian Farmland, Overseas Property, Parking Spaces & Ethical Forestry to name but a few.
Many of these investments that sounded too good to be true, ended up in disaster when investors were told that their value had plummeted, and their pensions were worth far less than they had anticipated.
Was I mis-sold?
Each case is different, however as a rule of thumb, if your Financial Advisor did not take appropriate steps to make sure that you were prepared to accept the risks associated with each of the investments, and that you could be classified as a ‘Sophisticated Investor’, then it is likely you have a claim.