Mattioli Woods has helped its clients recoup nearly £10m of lost funds via the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), after it took on Stadia Trustees' self invested personal pension book four years ago.
Following the default transfer of eight Sipp schemes from Stadia Trustees in 2016, Mattioli Woods went on to work with the lifeboat scheme to help these clients bring compensation claims.
Since January 2018, the wealth manager has helped claim almost £10m in compensation after submitting more than 350 claims to the FSCS and said it will continue to “assist clients with their claims over the coming months”.
Mattioli Woods was appointed to administer the various Sipp schemes of Stadia in February 2016, working in conjunction with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
This transfer included 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.
The estimated total value of clients’ assets was £100m, held between about 1,200 separate arrangements.
Mattioli Woods’ role was to administer the wind-up of the schemes and transfer members’ assets to new pension arrangements, including a default arrangement provided by itself.
Of these clients, the majority had exposure to non-standard and potentially high-risk investments, many of which are currently valued at nil while others have been written off entirely.
Some of these investments included Harlequin Properties, a £400m project involving a luxury hotel development that was largely never built.
In 2018, Stadia Trustees was placed in default and the FSCS invited clients to claim for compensation for the failed or unsuitable investments.
Mattioli Woods said it had assisted clients with their claims free of charge and worked with the FSCS to streamline the process to make it as easy as possible for them.
Alex Brown, wealth management director at Mattioli Woods, said the amount of compensation won for clients was a “huge milestone” and one that clients “have shown a great appreciation for”.
He added: “As a group, we were proud to have been appointed to help secure the benefits for those clients of Stadia Trustees who had lost almost all of their hard-earned retirement funds. Non-standard investments are only appropriate for either sophisticated investors or high net worth individuals. Unfortunately, most of these clients were neither.”
Martyn Carey, operational legal manager at Mattioli Woods, said: “By offering this service free of charge, we have ensured clients do not suffer any further losses on investments that were not appropriate for them.
“Many of the investments these clients were invested in would have been a higher risk than they should have been allowed exposure to, therefore our assistance in helping clients make their claims has been integral to the process.”
In 2013, Stadia Trustees was forced to stop accepting all new regulated business after it varied its regulatory permissions in order to undergo ‘structural changes’.
A note on the then Financial Services Authority register read: “Stadia will cease to accept all new business from new and/or existing clients for which it has Part IV permission with immediate effect.