If you have a SIPP - a self-invested personal pension - you have a lot more freedom over where your money is invested. But this isn’t always a good thing.
Not all financial advisors have your best interests at heart. This has led to a pension mis-selling scandal across the UK. Regulations have been brought in to curb the problem, but in many cases, the damage has already been done.
Your pension being invested into a high-risk investment, such as Global Cure Environmental, with or without your knowledge means you could be left with nothing by the time retirement comes around.
So what do you need to know about pensions invested into Global Cure Environmental, and what are the signs that you may have been mis-sold an investment? Let’s look at the facts.
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Global Cure Environmental Investment is one example of an unusual investment that, in theory, could yield a very high return. But there’s a catch. With the chance of a high reward comes a very high risk - one that wasn’t always communicated well. Investments like Global Cure Environmental are notorious for being mis-sold to unsuspecting pension holders.
There are various destinations your money could end up that should be ringing alarm bells. Global Cure Environmental is one of them, but also be aware of your SIPP or pension pot is invested in any of the following schemes:
Risky investments like Global Cure Environmental tend to share a few things in common - they entice people to invest their money into property, developments or projects, often overseas, that have little to no financial protection. And the problems don’t stop there.
These investments are often not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This means that if anything goes wrong with the investment - if the company offering the investment goes bust or the project in which your money is invested in fails - your money will be lost.
You also won’t get any additional protection from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) or the Financial Ombudsman Service.
While in theory, you might have thousands tied up in these schemes, that investment is only worth what someone would pay for it. It’s not stable or guaranteed. Also, being unregulated and often located overseas, there is not a lot the UK authorities can do to ensure the quality or validity of these schemes. All of these factors make this a very high-risk investment.
While being so high-risk and changeable, investments such as Global Cure Environmental are also notoriously hard to sell on, meaning it’s hard to access the cash when you need it.
These investments are not suitable for the vast majority of investors. So much so, that the FCA actually banned the sale of them to regular investors like pension holders in 2013.
To put your money into somewhere like Global Cure Environmental nowadays, you have to meet all sorts of criteria. For a start, you have to prove that you are an experienced investor or one with a high net worth. Very few of us would meet these criteria.
However, before 2013 all you had to do was self-certify that you were a high earner or have a financial advisor do it for you. This led to all sorts of mis-selling where regular people were having their private pension pots moved into SIPPs with these high-risk investments without knowledge or understanding of all the risks involved.
While there are many different ways you can be mis-sold an investment, there are a few tell-tale signs to be aware of:
This is all assuming the mis-selling was done by a legitimate financial advisor acting negligently. Your pension could also end up being invested into schemes such as Global Cure Environmental in one other way - a pension scam.
Pension scams are unfortunately common in the UK, with the average victim being scammed out of tens of thousands of pounds. Luring people in with attractive offers of exotic, high-return investments is one tactic scammer's favour to do this.
There are some common warning signs to watch out for to spot a pension scam, including:
If you think you could’ve been the victim of a pension scam, speak up. The FCA has several resources to help you report the scam such as their ScamSmart website. If you think you’ve lost money due to the scam, report it to Action Fraud right away and seek legal advice.
Remember that you don’t have to have lost money from your pension pot to have been mis-sold a pension. Just because you haven’t lost any money yet doesn’t mean that your pot is safe - especially if it’s tied up in high-risk investments.
But don’t panic. If you were mis-sold your pension, you may be able to make a mis-sold pension claim for compensation. You may want to seek professional advice to discuss your options sooner rather than later.
While there is no doubt that the financial compensation sector in the UK is now more widely known, there are still areas that are sketchy at best. The area of advice and agreeing to the advice is one such example. Even if you agreed to invest in Global Cure Environmental, you may still have recourse to compensation.
Unless you are able to prove that you are an expert investor, then this kind of investment is likely to be deemed inappropriate. So, it matters not whether you agree to the investment, the reality is simple; your financial adviser should not have recommended the investment to you in the first place.
The concept of allowing a large variety of investments into your pension scheme does, in many ways fit with the long-term investment horizon on pension funds. The problem comes when any of these investments are illiquid, and you are not guaranteed to be able to dispose of them if you require funds.
This is one of the central planks of the UK pension industry, the ability to liquidate pension fund assets at relatively short notice. You could argue that an investment in an illiquid asset at any time is plainly wrong but especially as you approach retirement - and will likely be looking to liquidate your pension fund investments.
While there are a variety of regulatory routes you can take when pursuing compensation, it can get very complicated, and there may be other damages you can claim. Therefore, it is no surprise to learn that many people are approaching claims management companies to act on their behalf.
Many of these companies have deep-seated experience pursuing financial damages, and they will no doubt be aware of exactly what’s happening with the likes of Global Cure Environmental. So, they certainly do have their benefits!
Once you have collated enough evidence to back up your claim of negligence, prompting your pursuit of compensation, it is time to approach a claims management company. They will give you an independent view of your case, the strengths and the weaknesses, any additional evidence required and ultimately whether they think you will be successful. If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of success, they will likely offer you a “no win no fee” arrangement.
This is in effect an indemnity that removes your obligation to cover costs incurred by the claims management company pursuing your claim. However, in exchange for this arrangement, the claims management company will negotiate a “success fee”.
This is simply an arrangement between a claimant and their claims management company, which entitles the company to a defined share of any compensation received. The average “success fee” is around 25%, although this is not set in stone and will vary on a case-by-case basis.
Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Financial Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for a mis-sold pension and they can do the same for you.
Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.
If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.
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Money Savings Advice is a trading name of RMM Digital Publishing Ltd. Registered trading address, First Floor, 85 Great Portland Street, London, W1W 7LT. Trading in England and Wales, company number 11550143 with data protection number ZA747669.
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