Avalon Investment Services Ltd
Since May 2018
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Avalon Investment Services Limited (Avalon) was placed into Special Administration in February 2016 and was later dissolved in August 2018. FSCS is accepting claims against this firm.
In January 2018 FSCS declared three SIPP operators, Brooklands Trustees Limited, Stadia Trustees Limited and Montpelier Pension Administration Services Limited in default. Since then FSCS has received a number of claims against these and other SIPP operators, including Avalon.
SIPP operator due diligence has been an industry ‘hot topic’ in recent years and FSCS is aware that there are a number of pending civil claims in the High Court against various SIPP operators in respect of alleged due diligence failings.
Claims submitted to FSCS against Avalon relate to the SIPP operators’ due diligence obligations when accepting customers’ investments. Some Avalon customers were advised by authorised independent financial advisers (IFAs) to transfer existing pensions into the Avalon SIPP, whilst others were advised by unauthorised firms.
Following the pension transfer, customers had their pension funds placed in high risk, non-standard investments, many of which have now become illiquid. FSCS has already assessed and paid a number of customer complaints against authorised IFAs declared in default by FSCS, in relation to advice they received to transfer their pension into the Avalon SIPP.
31 May 2019
Although FSCS is accepting claims against Avalon Investment Services Ltd, claims have not yet been passed to our claims processing teams for assessment. Firstly, we need to establish whether there are protected claims against Avalon. For this to happen we need to know that Avalon owes a civil liability to customers that would enable them to sue the firm in court.
FSCS is investigating the practices of Avalon, specifically seeking to establish what levels of due diligence were carried out by the firm, prior to permitting customers to make specific investments under their pensions.
FSCS has been working closely with FCA and other firms to obtain documents that demonstrate the level of due diligence carried out by Avalon. We're also working with legal counsel so that we can determine whether protected claims exist. Once these investigations are complete we'll begin assessing claims.
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