Life expectancy in the UK has continued to rise since the end of the Second World War and as a result, the UK’s population is aging with the number of pensioners growing year on year. At the same time, and particularly since the 1980s, the state of the UK pensions sector has altered radically with the age of ‘gold plated’ final salary schemes offering a slew of benefits such as critical illness cover and guaranteed income rates coming to an end for all but a few. Additionally, low interest rates since the 2008 financial crash have led to investment returns all but halting with many private pension pots under-funded and a huge number of people now facing an uncertain retirement as their private pensions fail to provide the returns they need and the strain on the public purse continuing to intensify.
The subject of pensions is an incredibly complex one but against this backdrop, a large number of financial advisors have been giving unsuitable and in some cases unscrupulous pensions advice to people approaching their retirement. Evidence now shows that a large number of regular people have been advised to transfer from their relatively safe private pensions or indeed from ongoing ‘gold plated’ pensions into Self-Invested Personal Pensions (SIPPs) and unregulated pension schemes with the promises of high returns which rarely come to fruition. Whilst products like SIPPs do offer freedom to invest in what the customer wants, they also require a level of sophistication and good advice and are not right for most people. Many consumers have lost out on valuable benefits as a result of this type of advice.
Of further concern are the investments which have been packaged with these pension products which are generally high risk and, in some cases, fraudulent. Examples Angelus Law has seen so far include:
- Green/fuel investments such as Ethical Forestry and Carbon Credits.
- Leasehold interests in storage units.
- ‘Off plan’ overseas property investments.
In 2018 Mr G, a maintenance worker, approached Angelus Law after becoming concerned about his SIPP Investments. Our investigations revealed Mr G had been advised by a now-defunct Financial Advisor Firm to transfer the money held in his private pension with Legal & General with £19,000.00 and invest the money in trees in Costa Rica via the SIPP. The investments failed and the Serious Fraud Office became involved in the investigations into what went wrong. Mr G did not have any other savings or investments. Angelus Law was ultimately able to recover over £28,000.00 for Mr G following investigations and a successful claim.
Angelus Law specialises in recovering these lost pension funds for clients and use all available avenues to do so including the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and, if necessary, pursuing those firms responsible through the Courts.