Failed GPC SIPP receives 799 FSCS complaints

Sophie King reports...

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has received 799 complaints against failed self-invested personal pension (SIPP) provider GPC SIPP.

The SIPP provider, which was previously known as Guardian Pension Consultants, was officially declared in default on Monday (17 February).

The lifeboat fund told RP’s sister publication Professional Adviser that it had received 799 applications for compensation against the firm to date, adding: “Although [the] FSCS has to find one eligible claim to declare the firm in default, it’s still too early to give a figure for compensation payments.”

On 11 June last year, the firm entered insolvency after it received a raft of claims and complaints made against it in relation to investments in the Harlequin property scheme. At the time of the insolvency, the firm’s administrators Smith & Williamson (S&W) said that the firm had 2,700 SIPPs that were deemed to hold alternative investments in the unregulated scheme.

Harlequin sold speculative overseas property developments promoted by a UK registered company, Harlequin Management Services. Advisers – or ‘agents’ – who sold Harlequin earned commissions of up to 15% of the investment. Ultimately, the villas were never built, and the investment is now worth nothing. In some cases, the same property was sold to multiple investors.

In August 2019 GPC was sold to Hartley Pensions, which included the effective transfer of GPC SIPPS and small self-administered schemes (SSASs) held via Guardian Pension Trustees.