Store First Storage Pods
Were you one of the unlucky ones advised to invest in Store First?
Business Secretary Greg Clark launched a High Court action in a bid to wind up Store First Limited, the company behind the country’s biggest storage pod investment scheme.
Lancashire based Store First, runs a self-storage warehouse and has used a number of outsourced firms to sell storage units for up to £30,000 apiece as part of a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP).
DRSP have spoken to a number of investors who have complained about promises of a ‘guaranteed’ 8 percent return on investment in the first 2 years, rising up to a massive 10% in subsequent years.
A quote from one of the adverts published by Store First, and quoted by Quentin Willson of Top Gear fame, stated “a £15,000 investment could return £13,000 in six years” - a whopping profit of 85 per cent, adding: “call me old fashioned, but who needs gold?”
These promises made by Store First, and a number of Financial Advisors selling on their behalf, appear to have been completely false as investors have found out to their expense - with many having their £30,000 Storage Units recently valued at £0, due to lack of open market demand.
One of the main SIPP providers responsible for such investments was Leicester based Berkeley Burke, who have also been responsible for providing similarly risky investments in biofuel scheme Sustainable Agro Energy.
Who can I complain to?
The SIPP provider (the company that administers your pension) will often claim that as they did not provide advice to the customer (this was the job of the IFA) they are neither regulated to give advice on, nor responsible for a client’s investments. In the case or Mr X against Berkeley Burke, the Financial Ombudsman Service ("FOS") disagreed, and as a result, the case as to whether the SIPP had a responsibility to ensure that their investments were ‘above-board’ is now back on the table.
Following his initial complaint, the FOS found in favour of Mr X, and awarded a payment of over £27,000 to be made by the SIPP provider, as they had a duty of care to the client to ensure that their investments were fit and proper for their investors. This case, however, has been escalated to a judicial review as Berkeley Burke have disagreed with the findings. This could, if the decision goes against Berkeley Burke, prove monumental in the fight against mis-sold pensions as currently the only person who can be held responsible for the advice received, is the Financial Advisor who gave it.
If you have invested in Self-Storage, and would like to know whether you may have a claim, contact DRSP today on 0800 849 5078.