The FCA has issued a statement following the administration of Berkeley Burke SIPP Administration Ltd (BB) and the administrator’s decision to discontinue BB’s judicial review appeal.
BB was involved in litigation in respect of a SIPP investment made by Mr C, who had transferred a personal pension to BB in order to invest in a scheme offered by Sustainable AgroEnergy. When the scheme turned out to be a scam, Mr C complained to the FOS about the conduct of BB, seeking reimbursement of the sums he had lost. His complaint was upheld by the FOS and, subsequently, by the High Court. BB was seeking to appeal the High Court decision, but the administrators have now decided to discontinue this legal action.
The FCA’s statement reminds firms of its “Dear CEO” letter published in October 2018. In particular, it highlights that:
- where a SIPP operator’s ability to meet financial commitments as they fall due is in doubt, they should contact the FCA immediately; and
- firms are obliged to treat complainants fairly and handle complaints according to the rules set out in the Dispute Resolution Handbook.
The FCA stresses that, where a firm pursues a sale of its business or assets, it should pay due regard to its implications for customers who may have compensation claims and that it expects directors to comply with their statutory and non-statutory duties (as well as the relevant provisions of the FCA Handbook). For firms at risk of insolvency, this includes their duties to creditors, such as customers to whom compensation is or may be due.