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Clients of failed Sipp pursued for £2.4m unpaid fees

Clients of failed Sipp pursued for £2.4m unpaid fees

The administrators of the collapsed self-invested personal pension provider GPC are pursuing investors who have lost their pensions investing in Harlequin for unpaid fees.

A report by administrators Smith and Williamson, filed at Companies House this week (December 10), showed that GPC was owed £2.4m in unpaid Sipp fees on August 5 when the report was signed off.

The fees were owed by clients of the provider who either had insufficient funds in their pot to pay the fee, declined to pay it, or were caught up in cases with the FSCS or the regulator.

The administrators have already pursued the clients for missing fees and by July 31 had recovered £31,000. They said they would send debt collectors after those still owning fees if they considered it cost effective.

A director of GPC also owes the company £71,000 and the administrators stated in the report they will take action to retrieve this debt.

GPC entered administration in June 2019 after it could no longer withstand the pressure from the failed investments on its books.

The provider had administered assets of £130m prior to its collapse across about 3,200 Sipps and 50 Ssas, holding more than 8,000 property assets. 

About 2,700 of the Sipps held alternative investments several of which failed, such as Harlequin Properties, a £400m project involving a luxury hotel development that was largely never built. It soon faced scores of complaints coming through the Financial Ombudsman Service.

GPC's 'good' pensions book was sold to Hartley Pensions but the administrators anticipate a substantial volume of claims to be brought to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme in relation to the 'bad' book.

It emerged in July that chief executive Kathryn Taylor paid herself £1m as a dividend seven months before the company entered administration. 

The assets in the Sipps were placed between 2009 and 2012. And in light of problems with the investments the company has not marketed its services since 2013, according to administrators.

The administrators' document showed Smith and Williamson were appointed on June 11 and by July 21 they had incurred costs of £114,000.

There are also outstanding costs incurred by professional advisers Weightmans of £146,000.

david.thorpe@ft.com

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