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Carey Pensions’ Hallett: We were confident we would win

Carey Pensions’ Hallett: We were confident we would win

The outcome of the long-awaited Carey Pensions judgment was the “right result” according to managing director Christine Hallett, who believes it will mark a turning point for the industry's reputation.

Speaking to FTAdviser, Christine Hallett, managing director of Carey, now rebranded as Options “for your tomorrow”, expressed relief at finally receiving the long-awaited High Court judgment this morning, but said the firm was always confident it would emerge triumphant.

Ms Hallett said: “There is a huge sense of relief after waiting for this judgment for so long. At the time you feel as though everyone and everything is against you and the view of guilty until proven innocent is often taken.

“However, we were always very confident in terms of how we had approached this case in line with regulatory requirements and with robust systems and controls in place, so we went into this pretty confident. 

“There is always someone who loses in cases like this which is unfortunate but it is the right result.”

It is unknown why it took more than two years for the judgment to be delivered but Ms Hallett speculated it could be due to the complicated nature of the case and its far reaching consequences.

She said it was clear from the 99-page judgment that the judge had gone through the case “with a fine tooth comb” and said it was a robust judgment on all counts.

The case centres on the question of provider responsibility when accepting investments into a Sipp.

It saw driver Russell Adams allege Carey Pensions mis-sold him a Sipp. He and his lawyers accused the Sipp provider of using a Spain-based unregulated introducer to facilitate investments in Store First unit pods which were unsuitable and are now deemed "worthless".

But in a judgment published today (May 18), Mr Adams’ claim against Carey Pensions was dismissed on all grounds, bringing with it clarity on the duties and obligations of Sipp providers, and "important findings for all financial institutions as to the parameters of ‘execution-only’ instructions".

Ms Hallett said the outcome would hopefully lead to more people feeling positive towards Sipps after the industry had been consistently “tarred with the same brush”.

She said: “It enables the Sipp industry to be vindicated in terms of the majority of companies who were truly operating within the principles of the regulatory framework at that time.

“To a certain extent everyone in the industry has been tarred with the same brush which has not been the case and the majority have operated in the correct way and in the interests of their clients.”

However, she said it was difficult to say what exactly will happen now the judgment is out.

It may be the case that other providers bring similar cases to the court, however this process is highly costly and it “may not always lead to the best outcome”, according to Ms Hallett.

Also, each Sipp provider operated in a different way so although Carey has been successful in this case, it may not be the same for other providers bringing similar cases, she said.