Berkeley Burke SIPP pay-outs begin as FSCS pays out £2m

Berkeley Burke bought by pensions consolidator business

Compensation claims against the collapsed SIPP provider have now hit nearly 1,700, with 58 claims paying out so far.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has begun the long process of paying former Berkeley Burke clients. So far, the lifeboat scheme has paid out £2m in compensation from 58 successful claims. 32 claims have been unsuccessful.

The majority of claims are concerning pension advice, while all of the successful claims thus far have been related to self-invested personal pensions (SIPPs). Claims for compensation include against the firm include:

  • SIPPs
  • Personal pension transfer and Opt-Outs
  • Investment portfolio advice
  • Investment Bond advice
  • Enterprise Investment Schemes
  • CIS – Regulated and Unregulated
  • Other pension advice

The FSCS opened the flood gates for claims in April 2020, with estimates that it could pay out more than £158m in compensation. Last year, the firm’s joint administrator, Adrian Allen, stated that the FSCS would pay valid claims of up to £85,000 per client.

The FSCS is continuing to work through all of the claims against Berkeley Burke.


Who are Berkeley Burke?

Earlier this year the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) received over 1, 474 claims against Berkeley Burke, a figure which has since rise to 1,694. The cause of these claims was the SIPP provider accepting high-risk, unregulated investments, many of which have caused large investor losses, between 2010 and 2012.

Berkeley Burke was put into default on April 1st 2020, and claims are now focused around due diligence failings before allowing clients to make unregulated payments with their pensions.

The embattled SIPP firm has faced claims from a group of over 177 investors, of which over 30 were Smooth Commercial clients, over losses they incurred from these high-risk investments. The investments ranged from forestry in Australia to holiday apartments in Grenada, a court document has revealed.

In a separate case, Berkeley Burke was fighting a 2014 FOS 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 revolved around an unregulated investment scheme, Sustainable Agro Energy, which sold plots of land in Cambodia where trees would be planted to create bio-fuel.

The Berkeley Burke administrators dropped their appeal case earlier this year after their funds would have been short of the "total potential legal costs" faced if the SIPP provider lost its appeal.


How does the FSCS compensate investors?

The FSCS is a statutory deposit insurance and investor compensation scheme. It compensates clients if a financial firm is unable to. It has often been described as a “lifeboat” fund.

In order to cover the cost of rising compensation claims, the FSCS levy has jumped by £87m this year to £635m. This levy is funded by financial firms authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). 

The scheme is independent of the government and the financial industry, and was set up under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000, becoming operational on 1 December 2001. They do not charge individual consumers for using their service.

Smooth Commercial Law work alongside the FSCS to get clients the compensation they deserve. The FSCS have protected more than 4.5m people and paid out £26bn in compensation.

The scheme can pay out a maximum of £85,000 on individual investment claims.


How can Smooth Commercial Law help?

Smooth Commercial Law have been a driving force throughout the Berkeley Burke saga. We are one of the law firms representing clients in the ground-breaking Group Litigation Order – with around 30 clients in total.

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.