Brooklands Pensions, now known as IVCM

An independent review by our team of experts.

Review summary

Brooklands Pensions, now known as IVCM

Established in March 2006, at the start of QROPS and pensions simplification, IVCM has provided SIPP and QROPS retirement products from around the world through its various companies.

IVCM currently offers SIPPs and QROPS from the UK, New Zealand, Gibraltar and Australia and has had experience in most of the main QROPS jurisdictions.

IVCM previously offered QROPS from Guernsey and Isle of Man, but stopped offering these when HMRC regulations changed in 2012, and the benefits of these jurisdictions were no longer available.  IVCM also previously offer Malta QROPS, but no longer does so.

According to its insolvency practitioners, it acted as trustee to over 6,000 individual pension schemes worldwide.

Because it operated self-invested pension plans, it was regulated by the Financial Services Authority, and its successor the Financial Conduct Authority.

Its pension schemes were also registered with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and held funds of £650 million.

Brooklands Trustees went into administration in July 2016 having arranged a ‘pre-pack’ sale of its SIPP book to Heritage Pensions for £425,000.

At that time, Brooklands’ SIPP had 5,500 members and funds under management of £650m, and only took business from advisers who had signed an introducer agreement.

Whilst it’s easy for us to say that we never recommended Brooklands’ pension products, that’s no help to those of you who had one, and those who remain affected by the entire scandal.

The old Brooklands’ team, together with Heritage Pensions, set up a new operation called IVCM, which they rebranded (from Brooklands) at the time.

Overview

IVCM tells us: "...this action was taken due to a number of provisional FOS complaints against the firm, where in 2011 and 2012 they had taken clients on from an adviser firm who had operated outside of their licence jurisdiction and this was compounded by the failure of the investments that had been recommended by the adviser." 

Whilst it’s easy for us to say that we never recommended Brooklands’ pension products, that’s no help to those of you who had one.

IVCM tells us: "Following FCA guidance in 2013 (and again in 2016) IVCM and then Heritage have operated a strict policy of only accepting SIPP clients from advisers where the client is resident in the same jurisdiction as the adviser licence."

As the assets within Brooklands’ SIPP were held under separate custodianship, the assets themselves were not affected.

However, we believe that Brooklands were perhaps not as strict guardians as they should have been when compared to a number of other pension trustees, and that a number of plans held unregulated funds that failed.

There have been a number of financial ombudsmen claims (FOS) claims for these.

Administrators’ documents sent to investors at the time of the administration revealed Brooklands had received 20 claims through the FOS totalling £1.6m.

They invested in the LM Managed Performance Fund (LMMP), an Australian property fund, that collapsed in 2013.

Sadly, not all individuals and funds will be covered, and some will lose a proportion of their money. The FSCS pays out a maximum of £50,000 per investment claim, meaning at most it would pay out £1m to the 20 investors, leaving many of them short of funds.

This supports our compelling argument for why we recommend only using the most robust and regulated pensions providers.

Concerns

A concern to some clients may be the reason why Brooklands’ SIPP trustees went into administration, and we understand that the Financial Ombudsman Service provisionally ruled against Brooklands’ SIPP trustees regarding some of their clients’ investment fund failures, therefore they did not provide the duty of care that trustees should have.

Sadly, the funds in question were sold by unregulated offshore financial firms and their unqualified salesmen, selected because they paid the highest levels of commissions (9% in the case of the LM Managed Performance fund.)

These firms and individuals cannot be held to cover any liabilities.

There is a Brooklands Action Group set up on Facebook, which can be accessed by clicking here.

And an interesting article about the Brooklands SIPP scheme here.

Company statement:

IVCM/Heritage Pensions Limited sent us the following statement to add to our review:

Heritage Pensions Limited now administer well over 6,000 SIPPs and SSAS, with assets approaching £1bn, and their significant capital adequacy requirements are funded with 100% Tier 1 capital. Heritage Pensions were one of the first SIPP providers to restrict investments into FCA defined standard assets only, with many other offshore SIPP providers now following suit, although potentially too late. As a result of this new partnership, Heritage Pensions Ltd and IVCM now promote a joint venture IVCM Heritage SIPP. Of the SIPPs that are promoted offshore, Heritage Pensions Ltd would be one of the highest Capital adequacy coverages, which should be very reassuring, especially when looked at in conjunction with their policies on investments and advisers.

In October 2016, IVCM launched the Australian Expatriate Superannuation Fund, a public offer retail Superannuation Fund, regulated by APRA. The trustees of the fund, Tidswell Financial Services Ltd are a well established and respected Trustee and have been in operation for over 30 years. The fund can be used by expats across the world to save for their retirement in a complying Superannuation fund, whilst also providing Australian residents with a solution for their UK pensions. The AESF is the only retail superannuation fund on HMRC’s Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes list.

IVCM also operate QROPS pensions schemes in New Zealand and Gibraltar, meaning no matter where expats are based around the world, they will have a solution for their retirement savings in a secure and strongly regulated jurisdiction."

The pros

  • None

The cons

  • Investment failures
  • Languishes on the FSCS complex cases desk...progess is painfully slow
  • Those affected remain in limbo
FAQs
What's the relationship between Brooklands and IVCM?

It is our understanding that one of Brooklands’ directors, Paul Martin Evans, owns 70% of IVCM (Dubai) and is their current Group CEO

HPL, the buyer of the Brooklands SIPP accounts and customer relationships, is paying his firm to provide ongoing administration support!

IVCM offers SIPPs in the UK, Gibraltar, New Zealand and Australia.

The accounts of UK registered IVCM Distribution Limited are currently overdue - and as of August 2017, the company has just applied to be struck off the company register.

Customer reviews
Absolutely toxic

As someone who was comprehensively screwed over by Brooklands and hung out to dry, it sickens me to read of the cozy ongoing relationship between those who ran Brooklands, let adviser get away with whatever, sold off the profitable bit before going into administration - and then set up in Dubai...

I doubt you'll publish this review though!  But I have DIRECT personal experience - and live with the legacy.  It's affected my health as well as my wealth.

Those involved in these shady dealings should be ashamed.

Expert verdict
Expert Assessment of Brooklands Pensions, now known as IVCM

Having looked at the current offering from IVCM we do not believe that it is competitively priced compared to what else is available on the market.

Smaller providers seem to have charges that can’t be justified, and with pension charges getting more and more competitive we can’t see how smaller providers can make it work without the volume larger providers have.

We are also extremely concerned with the legacy issues as a result of the failure of Brooklands.

There are far better alternatives.

We suspect many investors have received poor quality investment advice regarding their pension transfers, and recommend all existing Brooklands & IVCM clients seek professional fee-based independent financial advice.

Read the UK regulator’s advice on pension transfers

NEVER deal with a firm that isn’t authorised as a UK pension transfer specialist*.

* AES International is authorised as a UK pension transfer specialist on the Financial Conduct Authority's (FCA) register.

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