Embattled Sipp provider Berkeley Burke has been criticised over investments made into esoteric schemes such as burial plots.
The provider is currently facing allegations it missold hundreds of Sipp investments. In February the High Court approved a group litigation order relating to claims against Berkeley Burke.
The provider is also locked in a battle with the Financial Ombudsman Service over a ruling dating back to 2014, when an adjudicator upheld a complaint against it for failing to carry out adequate due diligence on a £29,394 unregulated collective investment scheme.
Berkeley Burke launched a judicial review of the case but last October a High Court judge refused the company an appeal to arbitration.
An amount of £18,000 was invested through Berkeley Burke for a client to buy 15 burial plots near Birmingham in 2013, according to a contract seen by Money Marketing. The contract shows Berkeley Burke Trustee Co Ltd acted on behalf of the client to purchase the plots from the owner of the cemetery, to be known as Walsall Burial Park.
The document says the owner of the cemetery or their appointed representative will attempt to “source from the open market an end user for each of these plots”.
The contract would “grant an exclusive right of burial for a period of 99 years to the end user” and “the buyer shall be entitled to the end premium that may be payable by the end user”.
The client says they were promised a 30 per cent annual return through an introducer firm, and the land would be bought, developed and sold within a year, but the client says they have yet to receive their money back.
The client says there is also a potential administration fee of £3,000 for the retention of the plots within the Sipp until they can be released for sale.
The client says when they asked Berkeley Burke for a breakdown of its fee structure in relation to the burial plots, the company did not provide any information except to note that the fee was in line with the Sipp terms and conditions.
Berkeley Burke declined to comment.