Berkeley Burke defence thrown out in SIPP claims case

Berkeley Burke defence thrown out in SIPP claims case

Troubled SIPP provider has had its defence thrown out in a key legal battle involving unregulated investments, potentially leaving it open to another multi-million pound pay-out.

The embattled SIPP provider was facing a claim from a group of over 177 investors, of which over 20 are Smooth Commercial clients, over losses they incurred from high-risk investments. These investments ranged from forestry in Australia to holiday apartments in Grenada, a court document has revealed.

Berkeley Burke wrote to Bristol Commercial Court on July 12th 2019 to confirm that it did not intend to comply with future directions in the group litigation given its continuing involvement with the judicial review proceedings which are scheduled to be heard by the Court of Appeal in mid-October.

This landmark Court of Appeal case focusses on the 2014 Financial Ombudsman Service decision which stated that it had to compensate a client after it failed to perform necessary due diligence on the client’s investment. The investment in question was an unregulated investment scheme, Sustainable Agro Energy, which sold plots of land in Cambodia where trees would be planted to create bio-fuel.

With the SIPP provider’s defence being thrown out in the Bristol Commercial Court, lawyers will now have permission to enter judgment against Berkeley Burke for individual claims. These claims will be valued by the court at a future hearing.

This means there is potential for the firm to be forced to pay-out a huge sum of compensation to the individual investors.

The court’s decision to withdraw the defence also means the SIPP provider has to pay the legal costs to the 177 claimants.

How can Smooth Commercial Law help?

At Smooth Commercial Law, our team of experts have extensive experience in dealing with a whole manner of claims that arise from negligent and/or unsuitable financial advice. We are seeing more and more mis-sold SIPP claims, and have managed to secure compensation for many of our clients.

Should you have a claim, we can deal with your case and look to recover compensation for not just your loss of investment but also any adverse tax liabilities that you may now be facing as well.

You can contact our experienced team by calling 0800 046 9976 or by emailing


The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.