Group action launched on behalf of disgruntled Liberty Sipp customers

Published by Rachel Lacey on 08 August 2018.
Last updated on 08 August 2018

Scales of justice

Hundreds of disgruntled customers of Sipp (self-invested personal pension) provider Liberty Sipp have had their cases taken on by a solicitor’s firm.

Anthony Philip James and Co. (APJ) has filed 500 complaints against Liberty Sipp to the Financial Ombudsman Service(FOS), and called for investors to be put back into the financial position they were in before they invested with Liberty Sipp.

The Bury-based pension provider – which is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and boasts a five-star rating from research company Defaqto – offers direct and advised clients access to a wide variety of investments, including property.

But APJ claims Liberty Sipp failed in its duty to protect its customers by accepting a high volume of transfers from an unregulated introducer. In many cases, investments were not suitable because they were too high risk or not easy to sell. The 500 cases have a collective value of £18 million.  

The law firm has already issued 30 complaints about Liberty Sipp to the courts on behalf of clients whose money was invested into a range of higher risk sectors, including ethical forestry and global plantations, following introductions from unregulated introducers. It claims these cases are now being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

Glyn Taylor, solicitor at APJ, comments: “We’re pleased that initial indicators from the FOS suggest it is now considering the Liberty Sipp cases, prompting us to issue this significant number of cases. We’re hopeful we will now get decisions on Liberty Sipp cases from the FOS, helping us to gain the compensation for our clients that they deserve.”

However, John Fox, managing director of Liberty Sipp, disputes APJ’s claims. He says: “Another week, another misleading press release from a claims management company attacking the financial services industry.

“APJ in particular has form. Three months ago, it claimed to be pursuing ‘hundreds' of claims against Liberty in the courts. That approach came to naught so it’s now bombarding the FOS.

“Such vigour says nothing about APJ’s case, which is false. But it speaks volumes about the motivating power of APJ’s fee structure, which charges clients it ensnares fees of over 36%."

The FOS was not able to confirm to Moneywise its position on complaints against Liberty Sipp.

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