Lifetime Sipps transferred away amid administration

Lifetime Sipps transferred away amid administration

Troubled self-invested personal pensions (Sipp) provider Lifetime Sipp has transferred a part of its Sipp book to Hartley Pensions ahead of going into administration, FTAdviser has learned.

The provider transferred 40 per cent of its Sipps to Hartley in January, before appointing administrators in March.

It is to meet with the regulator next week about transferring the remaining book. Although it is yet unclear what will happen with clients who are holding failed assets, such as Harlequin, in their pensions.

Denis McHugh, managing director of Hartley, said: “Hartley Pensions is in discussions with the FCA and the administrators of the Lifetime Sipp to ensure that no consumer detriment occurs through the administration process of The Lifetime Sipp.

“In accordance with an existing agreement, many Lifetime Sipp schemes were transferred to the Hartley Pensions Sipp prior to the Lifetime Sipp Company going into administration and are now members of the Hartley Pensions Sipp.  

“A number of further schemes are due to be transferred to Hartley Pensions and it is expected that those members’ schemes will transfer shortly as part of the same agreement.”

Hartley Pensions was established and approved as a pensions operator under the Wilton Group in late 2016. An agreement had been signed in 2015 to acquire certain assets of the Lifetime Sipp.

FTAdviser revealed this morning that Lifetime Sipp has appointed administrators with a view to salvaging the company.

About 40 claims have been brought to the Financial Ombudsman Service so far in relation to failed investments such as Harlequin.

Further complaints have been lodged with the firm itself, a letter sent to creditors in April showed.

Lawyers representing a group of 70 Harlequin claimants warn up to £3.5m in liabilities could fall on the firm.

Mark Smith, chief operating officer at Sipp firm Mattioli Woods, which was appointed to assist Stadia Trustees when it was forced to cease accepting new business in 2013, said the firm had two main options: either transfer all of the clients to Hartley and seek to make the business work, or leave the troubled assets behind to likely fall on the FSCS.

He said: "If those left behind are just the bad assets it is going to be really difficult to sort that out because there is no income to manage the business.

"If the FCA allowed the wholesale transfer of everybody including the clients with the bad assets then it gives them the ability to try and manage that process from within Hartley, which would be better for the clients."

It is unclear whether Lifetime has professional indemnity insurance in place to cover any or all of the claims but latest accounts showed the firm had total net assets worth £1.6m at the end of January 2017.

Lawyers are urging any investors who have claims against the firm to register them with the administrators as soon as possible.

Tobias Haynes, a solicitor at FS Legal, said: “Lifetime follows in the wake of Brooklands, Montpelier and Stadia, which are now being dealt with by the FSCS.