SIPP  

Claims firm expands to Europe to tackle pension fraud

Claims firm expands to Europe to tackle pension fraud

APJ Solicitors is expanding into Europe as part of its plans to tackle unscrupulous overseas pension companies and advisers targeting savers in the UK.

APJ's Europe division will tackle qualified recognised overseas pension schemes (Qrops) based in countries including Gibraltar, Malta and the Czech Republic. 

The firm said it decided to make this move after it noticed that fraudulent overseas companies were targeting savers in the UK with tactics such as unsolicited cold-calls, which are now illegal for UK-based firms, to get people to transfer their pension into an overseas Sipp or Qrops.

Anthony Wilson, managing director for APJ, said: “Every day, hard working Brits lose large amounts of their pension pots to risky, mis-sold or even fraudulent schemes. 

“It’s crucial that we put boots on the ground in these countries to be able to lobby the respective regulators and judicial systems in order to clarify the positions and bring any unscrupulous companies to task.”

He added: “Cold-calling is the main tactic used by these firms to contact pension holders. This practice was banned in the UK at the start of the year, and as such we have welcomed a decline in the number of people who have fallen victim to these criminals. 

“Unfortunately, companies based overseas are exempt from this ban.

"We want to put a stop to these practices, and also represent people that have been caught out to try and get their money back where possible.”

Over the past 12 months, APJ said it has taken on 6,500 cases, with the majority of these involving mis-sold or fraudulent Sipps, which often included high risk investments.

APJ has previously handled claims against UK-based Sipp providers such as Berkeley Burke.

A case against the provider's alleged lack of due diligence on past new business was making its way through the courts but the earlier this year defunct Berkeley Burke Sipp dropped its appeal after failing to get sufficient backing to cover the potential cost.

amy.austin@ft.com

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