Mattioli Woods transfer includes £400k of ‘nil value’ Harlequin

Mattioli Woods transfer includes £400k of ‘nil value’ Harlequin

Sipps bought by Mattioli Woods from Stadia Trustees include £433,000 of Harlequin assets now valued at nil, according to the Sipp provider.

Mark Smith, operations director of Mattioli Woods, said his firm had worked “closely” with the Financial Conduct Authority when it took on the Sipps last month.

He said assets related to the troubled overseas property investment were “effectively being transferred to our scheme at nil value.

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“Any liability will remain with the original Sipp provider, not with us.”

The FCA and HM Revenue & Customs have been looking at the assets held within the Stadia business, Mr Smith said.

“As part of getting this solution in place we have been working closely with the FCA and they have been fully aware of the plans we have been working on.”

HMRC has been looking at the Stadia assets to see whether they can be deemed taxable property in any way, Mr Smith said.

Mattioli Woods took on Stadia’s Sipp book in February, three years after the company closed to new business.

In November 2013, a group of investors lodged claims with the Financial Ombudsman Service (Fos) amounting to hundreds of thousands of pounds, for what the group claimed was Stadia’s failure to carry out proper due diligence on an unregulated investment they put their pension money into, a claim Stadia disputed.

The transfer to Mattioli Woods includes the Noisnep Sipp, Essential Sipp, Essex Community Foundation Sipp, Hero Sipp, Investor Club Sipp, Ipswich Sipp, Liberator Sipp and Munro Sipp - all operated by Stadia Trustees Limited, working in conjunction with the FCA.

The estimated total value of clients’ assets is £100m, held between about 1,200 separate arrangements.

Mattioli Woods will administer the wind-up of the schemes and transfer members’ assets to new pension arrangements, including a default arrangement provided by itself, for £120,000 payable over a three month period following completion.

Mr Smith said if any of the Harlequin assets end up in the default option they will just be “parked” there “until someone can demonstrate that the investment has value” but added the issue could be taken up by the FSCS.

He said: “It really comes down to what the FSCS accept is a valid claim. They look at this on a case by case basis and this was an advised sale and there would have to be someone in default.”

In March 2015 the FSCS wrote down the value of investments in Harlequin to nil, leaving advisers who recommended potentially on the hook for hundreds of millions of pounds.