Court grants appeal against Carey Pensions in landmark SIPP case

Hannah Godfrey reports

The Court of Appeal has granted Russell Adams permissions to appeal in his landmark case self-invested personal pension (SIPP) operator Carey Pensions UK.

Lord Justice Arnold accepted the appeal on the grounds that Adams had a real prospect of success.

Arnold found that the importance of the issues raised in the ground of appeal, and the delay of more than two years in producing the original judgement by Judge Dight, amounted to compelling reasons for the grant of permission.

The case will be listed for an appeal hearing at the Court of Appeal in early 2021.

In May, Carey Pensions – now named Options Pensions – won its legal battle against former client Russell Adams, with Adams’ claims dismissed on all grounds.

During the 2018 trial, Adams’ representatives argued Carey had breached Financial Conduct Authority COBS rules that dictate a firm must act in a client’s best interest by allowing Adams to use Carey’s SIPP to invest in a risky, unregulated store pods scheme. Carey, however, argued SIPP providers were under no obligation to reject the investment.

The ruling had been keenly awaited by the SIPP industry as it has been expected to give clarity on the duty and obligations of SIPP providers.

The Court of Appeal will now re-consider the scope of the duties owed by SIPP operators purporting to act on an ‘execution-only’ basis, as well as the true statutory construction of section 27 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

The appeal will be sped up because of the historic delays.

Tim Hampson, partner and Wixted & Co Solicitors, who represents Adams, said: “We always considered that the original judgment approached the case from all the wrong angles, placing too much emphasis on the ‘paper-trail’ of standard form documents produced by Options and not properly considering the primacy of the statutory framework.

“That framework has especially been put in place by parliament in order to protect consumers such as Mr Adams from the exact circumstances he found himself in. Mr Adams is naturally very pleased with the outcome of his application for permission to appeal, we now look forward to the Court of Appeal considering the case early next year and bringing some real clarity to the issues.”

PA has contacted Options Pensions for comment.