A trial against collapsed self-invested personal pension (SIPP) provider Liberty SIPP has been set for September, according to an update from its administrators.
A statement of administrator's proposal was uploaded to Liberty SIPP's Companies House page on Monday (29 June), which contained details about the firm's collapse and ongoing claims against it.
Liberty SIPP entered administration in April following a number of high-risk non-standard investment claims against it.
The company was advised it was insolvent based on the number of claims, and advised to enter administration to protect any creditors, including former customers.
According to the administrator's proposal, prior to the company's insolvency, a number of solicitors acting on behalf of clients of Liberty SIPP issued proceedings against the company in respect of potential claims relating to non-standard investments.
Liberty SIPP has instructed solicitors Reynolds Porter Chamberlan to continue to defend the claims. A trial has been listed for September 2020.
Leonard Curtis Business Rescue and Recovery was appointed to deal with the administration of Liberty SIPP when it failed in April.
The administrator's report also contained more details about what happened at the company leading up to the firm's administration. It mentioned the 2013 launch of Liberty's Options SIPP, which the administrators said allowed customers wider investment freedom. The new SIPP saw the company's customer base expand to over 13,000 with assets of more than £3.5bn.
The report then said there was a change of the view of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) and the Pensions Ombudsman Service (POS), and that where Liberty directors had previously felt there had been clear FOS and POS rulings to suggest SIPP clients were responsible for their own investment choice, that interpretation became subject to scrutiny.
Additionally, according to the administrators, there was a change in the behaviour of claims management companies (CMCs). From early 2018 Liberty began to receive more complaints. The firm's directors were of the view that Liberty was the recipient of a sustained campaign in the press from one CMC in particular, which led it the lose business.
Following Liberty's collapse, the administrators wrote to 2,903 clients who had made complaints against the firm or potentially could. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is accepting claims against the firm.
The Liberty SIPP business and customer assets were sold to EBS Pensions - part of Embark Group - in October 2018. The Liberty SIPP legal entity was not part of the sale.
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