Avalon Investment Services Ltd, also known as Avalon, was a SIPP pension operator and administrator.
It was placed into Special Administration in February 2016 and was later dissolved in August 2018.
In March 2016 the Embark Group purchased Avalon but did not take on the liabilities. Embark also acquired the Rowanmoor Group, and Liberty SIPP sold its client bank to EBS Pensions, a subsidiary of the Embark group.
Some Avalon customers were advised by authorised financial advisers to transfer their existing pensions into the Avalon SIPP.
After the pension transfer, customers had their pension funds placed in high risk, non-standard investments. Some of these have since become illiquid. That means they can’t currently be sold or traded.
These investments include:
Several Financial Advice firms have had complaints made against them for unsuitable transfer advice, that involve Avalon SIPP.
Market Place Financial Services Limited and Cumulus Investment Management Limited both recommended transfers into Avalon SIPP. Both firms were declared in default by the FSCS in 2017.
Multicorp Rose Limited and Falcon International Financial Services Ltd (FIFS) – now known as ESE CAPITAL LTD have also had complaints made against them.
Abana Unipessoal Lda (Abana) is a Portuguese advisory firm that received several complaints from clients regarding Avalon. Which were upheld by the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Whilst Abana can no longer undertake regulated business in the UK, it was previously passported into the UK under the Insurance Mediation Directive (IMD).
This meant they were authorised by the FCA at that time.
Some Abana complaints involved clients being advised to transfer into a SIPP with Avalon with investments made via a bond. This was with a business called ePortfolio Solutions.
New Beginnings (Financial Solutions) Ltd was listed on the FCA register as an appointed representative of Abana from 11 March 2014 until 6 February 2015.
The BAD news:
The SIPP mis-selling scandal has cost pension savers BILLIONS of pounds.
The GOOD news:
Compensation payments are hitting record figures every year.
Avalon was declared in default by the Financial Services Compensations Scheme in January 2020. The FSCS does this when they are satisfied a firm is unable to pay claims for compensation made against it.
The FSCS is now processing claims made against Avalon that relate to the firm’s due diligence.
You could be due compensation if you can prove that Avalon failed in its due diligence.
For example, did Avalon do certain checks on the non-standard investments that would hold its customers’ pension funds, before it accepted them into its SIPP investment portfolio?
Did it ensure they were appropriate for a SIPP?
Did Avalon identify any potential issues with them and did it tell the customer?
According to reports in February 2020 the FSCS had already received 213 complaints against Avalon. And paid out £264k in compensation to clients.
If you want to know if your Avalon SIPP may have been mis-sold to you – we can help!
As mis-selling specialists we know to look for certain signs that in our experience indicate that mis-selling may have happened.
Our assessment is free and there’s absolutely no obligation to use our service if you have case.
You are not required to use our services to pursue your claim. You can also seek further advice or shop around subject to any time limits within which a claim must be made.
It is possible for you to present the claim for free, either to the firm or person against whom you wish to complain or to the statutory ombudsman (Financial Ombudsman Service or Pension Ombudsman Service) or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, whichever is applicable to your claim.