The firm specialises in technical and administrative services to Guardian Pension Trustees, which is the corporate trustee of Sipps and small self-administered schemes (Ssas).
GPC manages Sipp and Ssas schemes with a total value of approximately £130m ($165.5m, €146m).
The firm has come under fire for placing clients’ pensions in high risk and non-standard investments which ended up becoming illiquid.
Adam Stephens and Henry Shinners are the joint administrators from Smiths & Williamson.
Stephens said: “Our objectives as administrator are:
- Rescuing the company as a going concern; or
- Achieving a better result for the company’s creditors as a whole than would be likely if the company were wound up (without first being in administration); or
- Realising property in order to make a distribution to one or more secured or preferential creditors.
“In line with these objectives, the joint administrators are continuing to trade the business whilst in ongoing discussions with a number of interested parties as part of our work to try to sell the company’s business as a going concern.
“Any interested parties should contact the company immediately. All existing employees have been retained as part of this process,” he added.
FSCS open for claims
The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) also commented on the matter, saying that it is accepting claims against GPC as the company.
It said: “FSCS is working closely with the firm’s administrators and is investigating the practices of GPC, specifically 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 is aware that many GPC customers were advised by independent financial advisers (IFAs) to transfer existing pensions into a GPC Sipp. Following the pension transfer, customers had their pension funds placed in high-risk, non-standard investments, many of which have become illiquid.
“FSCS has already assessed and paid a number of claims made against IFAs already declared in default by FSCS, in relation to advice customers received to transfer their pension into a GPC Sipp.”
However, while it is accepting claims, the FSCS said it will not process them straight away. That is because the Scheme needs to establish whether GPC is liable for customers’ losses in the first place.