Glasgow-based firm Cowley & Miller Independent Financial Services has been declared in default by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).
Cowley & Miller’s pension transfers became subject to a pre-sale review in April 2018. At the time, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said the firm must not advise on any new or existing transfers involving defined or safeguarded benefits unless reviewed by an independent and suitably qualified third party.
Default the latest stage in Cowley & Miller saga
The FSCS declaring Cowley & Miller in default follows the FCA restricting the firm from disposing of its assets and client base without written permission in June 2021. The firm voluntarily applied to cancel its FCA authorisation in December 2021.
According to Professional Adviser, the FSCS has, to date, received 34 claims from Cowley & Miller clients relating to receiving unsuitable pension transfer advice. In announcing the default, the FSCS said of the firm: “This company has failed, or is in special administration.”
Cowley & Miller had already commenced liquidation and winding up proceedings in March 2022.
To date, the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has upheld ten pension transfer advice cases against Cowley & Miller; it is unknown whether any of these clients have already received compensation payments. Any who haven’t, plus new claimants, will now have to claim via the FSCS, which has a significantly lower compensation cap than the FOS.
One of these cases features on the FOS website and highlights the case of a Mr M, who was found to have been mis-sold a SIPP transfer by Cowley & Miller after a carbon credits investment became illiquid.
The FOS said: “Mr M relied on Cowley & Miller’s advice and I don’t think he should’ve been advised to transfer his pension, knowing the funds would be invested in carbon credits.
“The transfer to the SIPP was only necessary to facilitate the investment in carbon credits and due to Mr M’s limited fund size, and the increased charges involved, I don’t think the SIPP was suitable.”
While the FOS told Cowley & Miller to pay redress to return Mr M to the position he would have been in had he received suitable advice, it isn’t clear if this happened or if Mr M will be one of the potentially many clients who sees his compensation capped at the £85,000 FSCS limit.
Was your pension transfer mis-sold? Contact LawPlus Solicitors to get the compensation you deserve
If you’re a former Cowley & Miller client, or have lost your pension savings due to pension mis-selling, you may be entitled to compensation.
Contact us now for a free, no-obligation review of your pension advice and take the first step to getting at least some of your money back.