SIPPs at the heart of unregulated investment scams

LCF investors being targeted by scammers, FSCS warns

The Serious Fraud Office has stated that the pattern of pension scams has barely changed over the past five years.

Reports by Money Marketing has found that the Serious Fraud Office sees no difference in the pattern for pension fraud, showing that fraudsters are not being put off and are still taking advantage of pension freedoms.

The SFO has reiterated how fraudsters will promote unregulated investments offering higher than usual returns. They will promise buy-back options and insured or safe capital. They will often target vulnerable, inexperienced investors. The SFO has stated that this pattern of pension scams has remained broadly unchanged over the past five years.

The SFO is currently investigating Capita Oak, a suspected fraud involving more than 1,000 investors with a total investment of £120m, spread across 30 different locations.

This comes after a horrendous year for investors, which has also seen potential investment fraud such as Ethical Forestry, Global Forestry Investments, Dolphin Capital and Harlequin Group.

Generally speaking, these schemes offered guaranteed returns and upfront payments through cashback on their investment to entice pension savers to move their money from a lifetime salary pension into a high-risk, self-invested personal pension – something which is often a fraudulent scheme.

An SFO spokeswoman stated:

We cannot comment on specific cases. Fraudsters are always looking for ways to scam people, and pensions is just one aspect of that. Where possible, we investigate those who commit fraud and bring justice to those affected, but we can only help after a scam is discovered.

“Investors should always seek independent financial advice before investing or moving money. If a scheme appears too good to be true it most likely is. If you’ve invested in any of the schemes covered by our investigations, head to our website.

How can Smooth Commercial Law help?

Have you been a victim of fraud? We may be able to help.

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

Should you have a claim for negligent financial advice, 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.