The FCA announced the collapse of the self-invested personal pension provider, with Andrew Poxon and Alex Cadwallader of Leonard Curtis appointed as joint administrators.
Just 18 months ago, EBS Pensions Limited, part of the Embark Group acquired the Liberty Sipp Limited business and customer assets. They then rebranded to Option Sipp. The legal entity Liberty Sipp Limited was not part of the sale and so retained its liabilities. With the assets it had, any complaints had to be paid out.
Because of a high volume of potential claims relating to high-risk non-standard investments, the provider was advised to enter administration to protect former customers and other creditors.
The Financial Ombudsman Service have received around 500 complaints against Liberty Sipp since 2018 after clients allegedly lost money after making high risk investments. Claims have also been made surrounding clients who ended up investing in unregulated schemes such as Global Plantation Investments and Ethical Forestry.
Liberty Sipp used to administer some 12,800 Sipps, working with 745 advice firms cross the UK, according to accounts.
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme will now handle any complaints, with hundreds expected. They advise:
‘’Claims management companies may approach former customers of Liberty Sipp offering help to bring claims against it. Be cautious if you are approached by one of these companies. For the vast majority of former Liberty customers, there is no benefit in involving a third party in making a claim and you will be charged for their services.’’
Any claims against Liberty Sipp Limited, if eligible could give customers with compensation of up to £85,000.