Options Pensions, formerly known as Carey Pensions, has sought permission from the Supreme Court to appeal a recent judgment by the Court of Appeal in the long-running Adams v Carey case.
In a statement yesterday (April 29), parent company STM Group said Options considers that the Court of Appeal “erred in law” in its application of section 27 and 28 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.
It said the Court of Appeal's findings were of “significant general public importance” as well as having a broader application to the whole of the financial services industry. Therefore the issues “warrant consideration from the highest court”.
Alan Kentish, CEO of STM Group, said it was a “natural step” to request an appeal.
Kentish said: “There are clearly some very significant factors here that will not only impact the Sipp market, but also the wider United Kingdom financial services market as a whole. It seems there could be significant unintended consequences flowing from the judgment.
"There are real risks for firms and third parties who may have inadvertently stepped over an unclear regulatory line. This is a wholly undesirable outcome for providers and firms involved in the financial services sector and will drive up costs for consumers.
“The whole market needs more guidance on this issue, and we hope that this would be forthcoming as part of any appeal to the Supreme Court."
In the Court of Appeal’s decision this month (April 1) judges overturned a previous High Court ruling and sided with the claimant, who had lost money after investing in high risk unregulated investment Store First via his Sipp.
The judges found claimant Russell Adams had been advised, in contravention of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, by CLP Brokers, an unregulated introducer.
The court said at no time was CLP authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority to give investment advice, or to make arrangements relating to investments.
The court declared that because the Sipp was entered into as a consequence of CLP’s actions, the Sipp agreement was unenforceable against Adams, and he was therefore entitled to ‘unwind’ it and recover the money he paid into it, as well as compensation to reflect the losses he has suffered as a consequence.
Following this the Financial Ombudsman Service told FTAdviser it had 592 open complaints against Options UK Personal Pensions, as of April 8.
Earlier this month (April 16), STM Group delayed its results and said it was looking into whether it needs to set aside cash following the outcome of the case.
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