Westerby Trustee Services Limited is a SIPP provider and administrator.
If you are a client you may be visiting our site as you have found out that some of the investments you have made within your SIPP have lost some or all of their value. Or you have reached retirement age and have been told that you can’t access your pension funds as the investments are illiquid – or can’t be readily sold.
Westerby, previously trading as Westerby The Pension Specialist, has recently got into trouble for its due diligence failures, when the Financial Ombudsman Services sided with three clients who had recently raised complaints.
SIPP Investment Complaints
An initial complaint in February 2019 was first upheld in relation to an investment with Hedge Capital Investment.
A regulated firm, KMR Financial Management LLP (“KMR”) first introduced Hedge Capital Investment, a newly incorporated business, as a potential investment to Westerby in around July 2011. Westerby accepted Hedge Capita Investments into its SIPP a short time later.
In this first case, the client was introduced to the idea of investing by an unregulated firm called Money Helpers.
Money Helpers had an introducer relationship with a regulated IFA firm, who advised that the client shouldn’t transfer his pension away from his existing scheme. But, as we see so often, clients don’t really understand and are driven by the unregulated sales people to ignore advice.
The client decided to proceed with the transfer anyway and the regulated IFA firm sent a completed SIPP application form to Westerby in November 2011, its fees were payable to it from the pension fund. The investments were unsuccessful.
The Ombudsman had to consider the question of what the client would have done if Westerby had refused to accept his application to hold this investment in his SIPP.
He concluded that it’s unlikely that the client would’ve been able to proceed with the HCI investment by another route, and that it was therefore fair and reasonable for Westerby to compensate the client for the losses he’s suffered from making the investment.
Since June 2021, the Financial Ombudsman upheld five complaints regarding advisors which were related to firms registered overseas.
Once more, the Ombudsman explained that, ‘Our investigator thought Mr W’s complaint should be upheld.’
He thought the fact the company was based abroad should have made it stand out when Westerby was carrying out its due diligence checks.
The entry on the Financial Services Register had confirmed that the advice firm was only authorised to carry out insurance or reinsurance mediation in the UK.
The investigator said that personal pensions advice was not an activity covered by the IMD and that Westerby, as a SIPP operator, ought to have had the knowledge and expertise to understand what permissions were required, and what services the firm was allowed to provide in the UK.
It seems that the FOS was concentrating on the introducer relationship with:
Review Your Transactions
If you had dealings with any of those firms you should review all the transactions which were made and get in touch with us if you have any concerns about the advice you received or the way your investments are performing.
You may have suffered losses, even if your annual statements show that your money is safe.
Clients usually contact us when they are close to retirement and are suddenly being told that they can’t access their pension funds – as the investments can’t be sold or have gone into liquidation.
Your annual pension forecast will show growth, when the provider should state that the forecast is not based on fund performance.
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We offer a free assessment of your situation to find out if you may be owed money redress. We will inform you of other options available to you. Don’t delay because there are time limits to claim your compensation. The best time to act is now!
Contact us for an informal discussion to explore your options. You’ll also get a better understanding of how we work before deciding on your best course of action.
Pension Claims Experts
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We are able to work for a reasonable fee because we don’t buy your data from the companies involved in your claim. We pass these cost savings on to you. Our success is your gain.
Our team possess a deep knowledge of pension and investment compensation, including overseas property investment, and welcome your call to find what solutions are available to you. So, you’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling us today.