An investigation into investments in ‘storage pods’, which may be used by fraudsters as pension liberation scams, has been opened by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
Specific schemes being investigated include Capita Oak Pension and Henley Retirement Benefit as well as the Westminster Pension Scheme and the Trafalgar Multi Asset Fund.
The SFO believes that more than 1,000 people have been affected at a cost of around £120 million.
However, this could just be the tip of the iceberg, so it is asking people who have invested in storage pod investment schemes between 2011 and 2017 to complete an online questionnaire.
Investors would have been encouraged to purchase pods or other storage facilities on the grounds that they would be rented out on their behalf in return for income. However, the promised returns were not always realised and investors were frequently left with an asset they were not able to sell.
Commenting on the announcement, Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon says: “The SFO investigation into storage pod investment schemes is a timely reminder that unregulated unusual investments at home or aboard come with a high risk that people could lose all their hard-earned pension and other savings.
“Savers must be on their guard. Promises of high returns or financial inducements are often scams and people falling for this type of investment scam run the risk of their lifetime’s savings being lost in a matter of seconds.”