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Weightmans advises Smith & Williamson on pension sale

National law firm Weightmans has advised financial and professional services group Smith & Williamson LLP

National law firm Weightmans has advised financial and professional services group Smith & Williamson LLP on the administration of GPC SIPP, an FCA regulated operator of Self Invested Personal Pensions (“SIPPs”) and Small Self Administered Schemes (“SSASs”), with regards to a business and asset sale to Hartley Pensions, a company that is part of the Wilton Group managing more than £1bn of assets.

The sale included the repatriation of GPC clients’ SIPPs and SSASs to the buyer, along with the transfer of over 8,000 physical property assets held by the trustees of the pension schemes.  GPC specialised in the provision of technical and administration services to trustee entities which acted as corporate trustee of SIPPs and SSASs holding investment value of approximately £130m. 

Insolvency and restructuring partners Natasha Atkinson and James Moore

Insolvency & Restructuring partner James Moore led the Weightmans team which included Natasha Atkinson (R&I, pictured), Mark Poulston (Pensions), Ben Daniel (Employment) and Ola Smuklerz.

The sale involved close co-operation with the FCA and handling of legacy claims relating to the underlying investments. Many of the SIPP investments were linked to the Harlequin Property investment scheme to build luxury holiday resorts in the Caribbean, which has now entered its own insolvency process. As a result of alleged mis-selling, many thousands of investors have since claimed against the FSCS with claims that investors have lost out to the tune of circa £400m from this scheme alone.

James Moore said:

“As well as safeguarding a valuable business and protecting client investments, we are pleased to have been able to work alongside the FCA and to minimise disruption to customers. 

“Insolvency in the financial services sector can have huge ramifications, not only for customers but the wider market, so it is important that such shocks are managed appropriately. Alongside the expertise that Smith & Williamson have in this area, we were pleased to have been able to add our firm’s strong capabilities to secure a successful outcome.”

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