A group of nearly 80 investors has cleared the first obstacle in legal action against Berkeley Burke over allegations it was responsible for losses incurred from risky investments.
A judge’s decision published online relates to a group litigation order brought on behalf of investors who accuse Berkeley Burke Sipp Administration of “mis-selling” them self-invested personal pensions.
At a hearing in Bristol Crown Court on 15 November 2017, the claimants took their first steps towards legal action.
The claimants go on to allege that nine “relevant introducers” introduced them to Berkeley Burke with investments into Sipps ranging from £6,000 to £160,000.
The approximate value of the present claims stands at about £4m with Berkeley Burke denying it did anything wrong.
The claimants’ argue the Sipp investments were made in circumstances that trigger three distinct bases of liability as the relevant introducers “were not themselves authorised to carry on a regulated activity for the purposes of section 19 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000”.
Judge Russen QC who oversaw the case last December says the group ligation order “is desirable” but he says the making of the order in this case is subject to the consent of the president of the Queen’s Bench Division.
He also dismissed Berkeley Burke’s request that the case be transferred to the Royal Courts of Justice.
If the order is granted then even more investors could join the action against the firm as 66 others have indicated their interest in the group action.
Russen adds: “The significant number of present claimants and the number of further ones who might reasonably be anticipated.
“If a group litigation order is made and publicised it is not unreasonable to assume, on the basis of the present evidence, that there might be around 200 claimants in total, and quite possibly considerably more.”
Berkeley Burke declined to comment.