The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is accepting claims against GPC Sipp that was placed into administration on 11 June 2019.
GPC Sipp, which provides pension administration for Guardian Pension Trustees, has appointed Adam Stephens and Henry Shinners of Smith & Williamson as joint administrators.
It administers around 3,200 Sipps and around 50 SSASs, with a total investment value of roughly £130m.
Our first step is to be satisfied that GPC, due to its practices, is liable for customers’ losses"
GPC became insolvent because it had about 2,700 Sipps holding alternative investments, several of which failed, such as Harlequin Properties, a luxury hotel development that was never built.
Harlequin took around £400m of mainly pension investors' money to develop Caribbean villas. Advisers - or ‘agents' - who sold Harlequin earned commissions of up to 15% of the investment. Ultimately, the villas were never built, and the investment is now worth nothing.
In a statement the lifeboat fund said: "FSCS is aware that many GPC customers were advised by independent financial advisers to transfer existing pensions into a GPC Sipp. Following the pension transfer, customers had their pension funds placed in high-risk, non-standard investments, many of which have become illiquid.
"FSCS has already assessed and paid a number of claims made against IFAs already declared in default by FSCS, in relation to advice customers received to transfer their pension into a GPC Sipp.
"Although FSCS is accepting claims against GPC Sipp, claims will not immediately be passed to our claims processing teams for individual assessment. Our first step is to be satisfied that GPC, due to its practices, is liable for customers' losses."