Carey Pensions finds buyer despite looming judgement

Hannah Godfrey writes...

STM Group has bought Carey Administration Holdings, which owns 70% of embattled SIPP provider Carey Pensions, for £400,000.

A market update this morning (9 October) confirmed STM Group had entered into an agreement with Carey Holdings. The deal would see it acquire both the self-invested personal pension (SIPP) business and Carey Corporate Pensions UK, which offers workplace pension solutions.

The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval, and the first payment of £100,000 is due upon the first anniversary of the deal’s completion.

In March, Carey Pensions was accused of being “in bed with scammers” during a court case that saw the firm embattled with a former customer, lorry driver Russell Adams, who alleged the SIPP administrator had mis-sold him a SIPP.

Adams’ legal representatives accused Carey Pensions of using a Spain-based unregulated introducer to facilitate investments in Store First unit pods, which Adams invested £50,000 into in July 2012. Adams’ investment is now worthless.

Retirement Planner understands a decision on the case is set to arrive in the next couple of weeks.

‘Minimal’ exposure

In the market update, STM noted it had secured professional indemnity cover from Carey Holdings and considered any exposure to the ongoing case, or any other historical issues, to be “minimal”.

The SIPP business is set to bring more than 4,000 members to STM Group, while the workplace pension business will bring 65,000 members. It will also provide STM a pathway into the automatic-enrolment market. The Carey business will be rebranded within six months of the deal being completed.

STM chief executive officer Alan Kentish said: “Carey pensions has been a self-starter in the UK pensions market and has achieved a lot under Christine Hallett’s leadership during a relatively short timeframe.

“The management team has ideas and opportunities in abundance and I believe STM’s resources, financially and otherwise, will allow many of these to come to fruition.”