Past financial advice clients of J Richfield Ltd (also doing business as Sovereign Financial Services) should know that the firm entered liquidation on the 30th of May, 2017. The IFA has appointed Vincent John Green and Mark Newman as joint liquidators. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has also instructed Sovereign/J Richfield to conduct no further UCIS activities.
SIPP Pensions, UCIS Investments, And Sovereign
Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes, or UCIS investments, fall outside the jurisdiction of the FCA. This leaves their investors without protection from the FSCS or the Ombudsman when they go wrong. UCIS investments are only suitable for a specific sort of risk-friendly investor.
UCIS investments are volatile and prone to losing liquidity. This gives them a high degree of risk. They are suitable primarily for sophisticated investors and/or individuals with a high net worth (over £100k annually).
The past six to seven years have seen a large number of investors being sold UCIS investments via SIPP pensions. Many of these investors did not receive full disclosure of the risks involved in this class of investment.
Below are two prime examples of risky UCIS investment:
Thousands of investors were sold carbon credits through their SIPP investment portfolios. These investments have delivered poor returns. Many firms saw the value of their carbon credits disappear and subsequently went to the wall.
Carbon credits are high-risk investments that fall outside FCA regulations. This did not stop unscrupulous advisors from selling them to thousands of investors who lacked the capacity to absorb loss, wealth, and financial experience that such investments demand.
Land Banks Scams
Many marketing companies push land banks as strong SIPP investments. The FCA takes a different view. The Authority has set up a dedicated page to alert investors to the potential problems of such schemes.
Land banking is a way to hypothetically increase the value of land. The land is purchased speculatively and then resold after planning permission is secured. If all goes well and a buyer is found, the land sells for more than its purchase price, earning investors a profit.
The land required for schemes like this is bought up by a large company. Favoured sites are either green-field (never built on) or brown-field (containing unused buildings or having had buildings removed). This land is sub-divided into smaller ‘plots’ for sale to other firms or lone investors. the Cadnam Plot near the New Forest is a perfect example.