Law firm submits 500 cases to FOS against Liberty SIPP

Lawyers have issued 500 cases to the FOS against Liberty SIPP, on behalf of clients who it said had lost money after investing with the pensions provider, writes Victoria McKeever

A firm of solicitors has issued 500 cases to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) against Liberty SIPP, on behalf of clients who it said had lost money after investing with the pensions provider.

The firm, Anthony Philip James & Co (APJ), said the cases – representing a total value of £18m – related to the mis-selling of self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs).

APJ alleged Liberty SIPP failed in its duty to treat customers fairly by accepting a high volume of clients who were unsuitable for SIPP investments from an unregulated introducer.

The firm of solicitors said it is seeking compensation to put clients back into the position they would have been had they not moved out of their original pension schemes.

The submissions, it said, follow two mis-selling claims made by APJ which were recently upheld by the FOS in relation to SIPP provider Guinness Mahon.

APJ solicitor Glyn Taylor said: “It appears that the FOS has halted cases against Liberty SIPP possibly due to ongoing court cases including Adams v Carey Pensions and the Berkeley Berke judicial review.

“However, the cases we have now submitted are almost identical to the Guinness Mahon cases which FOS has ruled on, involving Liberty accepting high volumes of clients from an unregulated introducer.

“We believe that if the FOS is making decisions on Guinness Mahon they have no argument to halt the Liberty SIPP cases.”

He continued: “We’re pleased that initial indicators from the FOS suggest they are 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.”

The FOS confirmed it had received the 500 cases from APJ but had no further comment to add.

‘Misleading’

Last month, Liberty SIPP reported in its annual results its revenue had grown by a third (35%) and that it was now administering nearly £3bn in assets. It said uptake from advisers saw sales between April and June 2018 go up by a fifth (20%) on the same time last year.

Liberty SIPP managing director John Fox said: “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.”

In May, APJ said it had issued more than 30 claims to the courts against Liberty SIPP.