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Carey throws a lifeline to Rockingham Sipp clients

Over 700 clients who invested their Sipps with collapsed IFA Rockingham have been thrown a lifeline with the transfer of their investments to Sipp provider Carey Pensions UK.

Rockingham Independent was put into liquidation in March, which meant the firm could no longer administer the Sipps it held.

A total of 741 Sipps held with Rockingham have now been transferred to Carey Pensions UK, part of Guernsey-based financial services provider Carey Group.

Carey Pensions UK chief executive Christine Hallett says the company discussed the move with Rockingham, the FSA and Rockingham liquidator Probitas.

She says assurances were sought that Carey Pensions would not be taking on liabilities for past business.

Hallett adds: “We are committed to keep investors informed. We are at the early stages of carrying out a file review but clients know they will be getting a full status report on their scheme. These clients have not heard anything for many months, so understandably they are anxious.”

Rockingham was fined £35,000 by the FSA last September for putting 426 clients at risk at receiving unsuitable advice to invest in unregulated collective investment schemes and in Luxemburg-based life settlement vehicle ARM Asset Backed Securities.

Rockingham recommended that clients invest in its pension drawdown retirement income tri-investment account, known as Rita.

The Rita product was 10-year annuity product wrapped in a Sipp. It invested in ARM bonds which in turn invested in life settlement plans.

However, in August 2011, the Luxemburg regulator refused to grant an authorisation licence to ARM.

A total of 2,000 UK investors paid £75m into ARM bonds, of which at least 200 sales were advised by Rockingham Independent.

Page Russell director Tim Page says: “Carey Pensions could be taking on a poisoned chalice, given all the noise around Sipp provider capital adequacy and Ucis. It is interesting that none of the mainstream providers wanted to take this on.”

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