What was the Global Forestry investments scheme?
Global Forestry was sold as an investment opportunity, giving willing individuals the opportunity to invest in a Brazilian teak plantation (called Belem Sky). After promising investors returns of up to 20% for an initial £5,000 minimum investment, two of the scheme’s directors were subject to rigorous investigations by the Serious Fraud Office. By this point, around £24 million of Global Forestry contributions were invested in Belem Sky and another plantation called Para Sky and the majority of payments were made through a third-party company named the Green Retirement Pension Plan. Looking back, this was likely a front so payments could be funnelled into what appeared to be an alternative retirement scheme.
Schemes like Global Forestry have put countless men and women into hardship at the cost of what should have been their retirement savings. As investors latched onto the Global Forestry investments scheme, there were actually some reported returns made. However, the profits quickly stopped, creating suspicions that these returns were fabricated to instil investor confidence.
What’s most scandalous is the way in which advisers have duped people into investing. They encourage savers to switch to SIPPs (Self-Invested Personal Pensions) purely to gain additional commission for themselves. Even more alarming is that some SIPP advisers encouraged clients to pay their savings into dubious investments abroad which have subsequently become worthless, with savers losing large amounts of money.
Sadly, an investigation made by the Insolvency Service found no evidence that “the majority of investors in the Belem Sky project received any returns after the first year”. What the Insolvency Service and other financial authorities did find is that the two Global Forestry directors actually deposited £13 million into their own bank accounts. By comparison, the investors who did make money received a comparatively meager sum of £710,000.
The two directors have since been banned from directorship for 10 years.
Can you make a Global Forestry SIPPs compensation claim?
SIPPs are a type of personal pension that allow you to hold multiple investments and products within a self-contained wrapper. This means that you can grow your pension fund in a tax-efficient way through these investments.
However, many people have lost much of their pension fund as a result of poor advice or corrupt advisers, especially from investing in the likes of the Global Forestry SIPPs scheme. Furthermore, SIPPs normally attract high fees due to the flexibility and earning potential for investors.
Below is a list of conditions in which you will have likely been mis-sold a SIPP product. If any of the below sounds familiar, you may be eligible for compensation.
You didn’t sufficiently understand what was being sold – Perhaps you were new to investment and, while you were open-minded about the process, you at numerous times felt that you didn’t understand what was being sold.
You felt that the sales approach was a bit forceful – There was palpable pressure that you felt pushed you in one way rather than the other. Whether you were coerced with promises of ROI or told that this was the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’, you felt that the sales tactics were aggressive.
The advice you were given was poor – This would occur if you were told to abandon your workplace/state pension for a SIPP product, although there were far more benefits to the former.
There was little or no transparency regarding fees – You were not made aware of any such transaction fees.
You weren’t made aware of the risks involved – You were not told about any of the risks involved in the investment. Of course, there are always certain risks, but you were explicitly not told about the risks involved within the scheme in question.
You were advised that tax responsibilities could be avoided – Wherever a financial or pensions adviser recommends a financial product (like a SIPP) as a means of tax avoidance, then you may be eligible to claim.
Our specialist team can help with your mis-sold SIPP claim. Continue reading to learn exactly how we help with your compensation claim.
We could help you with your mis-sold Global Forestry SIPP claim
The first thing that we will do is get in touch with your SIPP provider, on your behalf.
When you decide to make your claim with us, we will contact your SIPP provider on your behalf. We will put forward your case, explaining clearly how you have been mis-sold.
In the scenario where your SIPP provider does not uphold your complaint (because they’re often far likelier to contest), we will then contact the Financial Ombudsman to continue fighting for your case. The Financial Ombudsman favours two-thirds of SIPP cases, so there remains a good chance that yours will be successful.
To get the ball rolling with your claim, get in touch as soon as you can. You can fill in a claim form from anywhere on our website, and it takes just 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can call us on 0161 968 0768. If you’d like to drop in or make an appointment, here are our office hours.