What happened with the SCS Farmland investments?
The SCS Farmland investment scheme allowed investors to invest in acres of Argentine farmland in the Province of Santiago del Estero. Investors were promised a fixed return after five or ten years, and with returns as high as 160%, so it’s understandable to see why the opportunity was so inviting.
The minimum investment totalled £12,000, and many cashed in their pensions as part of a SIPP (self-invested personal pension, which we’ll explain shortly!). With their life savings on the line, the stakes were high but so were the promised returns (160%, remember).
Once the investments had been made, there were several messy land disputes between the Argentine company who owned the farmland, and another UK company (Powerscourt Services Limited) who had helped numerous investors put money down. In the end, the investors never received a legal title for the land and, as a result, their shares never materialised. Their money was lost – unsurprisingly, the SCS Farmland investments were not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
SIPP stands for self-invested personal pension, which allows people to take control of their pension by transferring from the standard workplace pension (effectively, to ‘cash in’ their pension) and then put those funds into various investment opportunities.
While workplace pensions are fixed and steady in terms of your return, they will not perform as well as an investment in the stock market, for example. Of course, by contrast, if you invest in stocks and lose money then a workplace pension would’ve been better. It’s all about how comfortable you are with risk. This is why SIPPs have to be sold responsibly, and with all the information provided, so that you can make informed decisions.
When SIPPs are mis-sold, like they were in SCS Farmland, then they can put thousands of investors at risk of financial hardship. If you suspect that you have been mis-sold a SIPP, we’ve outlined some of the telltale signs below.
Pension mis-selling: How to know you’ve been mis-sold to
It is likely you were mis-sold where any of the following applies which could mean you are eligible to claim for SIPPs compensation.
You weren’t given all the details you needed
A lack of information is a key sign that you’ve been mis-sold to. There is a lot of risk involved, and because rogue advisers often receive high commission for SIPP transactions, they’re often willing to forgo any important details you need to be aware of.
If you feel you did not understand the process, there’s a good chance you were mis-sold.
Another telltale sign of pension mis-selling is pressure selling. If you felt that you were being forced to make a decision, or you simply felt pressured or hurried – you were probably mis-sold.
You were given poor advice
Even though your previous pension scheme was safe and guaranteed, you were advised to transfer onto a riskier investment. This is a definite sign that you’ve been mis-sold.
You weren’t made aware of the fees
There are multiple fees involved when it comes to SIPP transactions, and if your adviser does not make you aware of them, then there’s a good chance you’ve been mis-sold.
You weren’t made aware of the fees
If you were not advised about the great potential risks involved, then you may have been mis-sold.
You were given advice on how to avoid tax
This is a huge red flag. If any financial adviser gives you advice on avoiding tax, then this is a sign of mis-selling.
How we can help with your SCS Farmland SIPP claim
As soon as we take on your claim, our dedicated team works tirelessly to get your case to the Financial Ombudsman. If your SIPP provider accepts responsibility and recompenses you, then it won’t have to go to the Financial Ombudsman. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
If you think that you have been mis-sold, get in touch. You can also see what our past clients have said about our SIPP claims services over on our testimonials page.