A group of 27 investors is taking action against Liberty Sipp over allegations it was responsible for losses incurred from risky investments.
Wixted & Co Solicitors has issued a case in the Circuit Commercial Court in Bristol against Liberty Sipp. The firm is also acting on behalf of investors in a claim against Berkeley Burke.
The case against Liberty Sipp concerns six unregulated introducers including Avacade, Anton Barr, S J Stone, PFR Services, Gravity Global Investments and Ethical Forestry.
There are also five unregulated investments in the case including Ethical Forestry Sustainable Timber Investments, Global Plantation Investments, Gas Verdant Investment, Sustainable Agroenergy and an investment into Gravity Child Care Limited.
According to Wixted & Co Solicitors, on 6 June there will be a cost and case management conference in Bristol where the court will set directions for the disclosure of relevant documents, the exchange of witness evidence and possibly set a window for when the trial will take place.
Wixted & Co Solicitors anticipates a trial will not take place until early 2019 at the earliest.
Wixted & Co Solicitors senior associate Tim Hampson says: “By the action, the claimants hope the court will set out the standards that Sipp operators must meet when dealing with unregulated introducers, as well as the level of due diligence that is required when accepting unregulated and high risk investments into their Sipp.
“This is with particular reference to the FCA Handbook COBS rules and the expectations communicated to firms in the FCA report entitled, ‘Self-Invested Personal Pension operators – A report on the findings of a thematic review’ published in September 2009.”
Liberty Sipp managing director John Fox says: “We have recently been contacted by a claims management company [Wixted & Co Solicitors] claiming to act for a small number of Liberty Sipp clients.
Fox says: “Such claims management companies have been targeting both Sipp providers and financial advisers for several years now. Liberty refutes any suggestion that it has ever missold investments, and will defend itself in the strongest terms from such false accusations.”
He adds: “The claims relate to a few legacy clients who opened Sipps with us between 2011 and 2013. Liberty Sipp stopped allowing clients to invest in non-standard assets in 2013, and today more than 96 per cent of the assets we have under management are in standard, regulated investments.
“As a Sipp provider, Liberty cannot offer financial advice or sell investments. So by definition we cannot missell investments.”
Also in Bristol on 20 June another cost and case management conference will set directions for the selection of lead claimants from the group litigation order against Berkeley Burke.