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Government orders Store First to wind up

A storage company invested in by members of two pension schemes under investigation by Serious Fraud Office told to wind up.

 
Government orders Store First to wind up

A storage company invested in by members of two pension schemes now under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has been told to wind up.

The BBC has previously reported that the Capita Oak Pension Scheme and Henley Retirement Benefit Schemes promised returns by investing in Lancashire-based self-storage firm Store First.

Last month the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced it had launched an investigation into the Capita Oak Pension and Henley Retirement Benefit schemes. The SFO said around £120 million had been invested in the schemes, as well as two others it is looking into. These schemes were also wound up by the High Court in 2015.

There is no suggestion the SFO investigation extends to Store First or its subsidiaries.

Store First offered storage pods in its warehouses around the country but has now been issued with a winding-up petition.

A winding-up petition from the secretary of state for business energy and industrial strategy has appeared on the London Gazette for Store First Midlands Limited, Store First St Helens Limited, Store First Blackburn Limited and Store First Limited.

When contacted by Citywire a spokeswoman from Store First said: ‘We can confirm that winding-up proceedings have been served on us. We have instructed our solicitors and intend to defend these proceedings vigorously.

'Given that High Court proceedings are now in progress, it would be inappropriate for us to comment further at this stage pending our formal response to the proceedings. We are advised that the proceedings could take many months.'

She added the firm was surprised by the winding-up petition.

‘We believe firmly in our business model and that is why over the years we have worked in an open and transparent manner with the regulators explaining how our business operates. Indeed, we cooperated fully with the Secretary of State’s enquiry and had understood it to have concluded and were therefore surprised to have received proceedings at this point.’

The Self-Storage Association (SSA) has issued a warning about material released by Store First to investors and said many of these investors were not aware of the risks with such an investment.

In response to this warning, Store First said in a note on its website: ‘All Store First Ltd investors are invited to take their own independent financial and investment advice. Store First does not claim its investment is risk free. No investment is risk free.’

Records on Companies House show Store First made an operating loss of £1.4 million in 2015 on sales of £11 million. This compared to a profit of £825,734 in 2014 on sales of £45.4 million. 

6 comments so far. Why not have your say?

TIM HUNT

Jun 03, 2017 at 16:02

GOVT WINDING UP ORDER STORE FIRST ltd.

This is very worrying to read.

Can you offer some advice please?

My wife and I are landlords of storage pods at Glasgow Linwood. The pods are managed on our behalf by Store First Management Ltd, company number 07160642. If Store First ltd are unsuccessful in defending the winding up order, how are we likely to be affected? Does the winding up order include Store First Management ltd?

Tim

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Sascha K

Jun 05, 2017 at 16:44

@Tim Hunt

I am afraid that your pods are worthless and you have probably lost your money.

If you were advised by a FCA-regulated adviser to invest in Store First then you should look into how to make a complaint against them.

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Trina via mobile

Jun 05, 2017 at 19:15

I have just heard about this winding up order on store first. Is there anyway I can get my money back from them now?

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DC via mobile

Jun 09, 2017 at 08:46

Storefirst Management Ltd has a winding up petition also.

They had a name change to SFM Services ltd last year.

There are five companies controlled by Groupfirst with winding up petitions not four as above.

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Darren Woolley via mobile

Jun 15, 2017 at 13:48

I have also invested in store pod a few years ago .My unit has never been let out in the period of time of my investment an continue to make a loss every year .Nobody wants to buy them neither will store pod buy them back as promised Now seeking legal advise from the fSCA.

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Brian Abbott

Jun 19, 2017 at 11:04

Hi Tim,

I have access to a legal firm who are currently dealing with over 50 Store First cases. They specialise in mis-sold investments and have a current 'uphold' rate of 98%. They operate on a 'no win, no fee' basis. I act as a conduit and can't provide advice. I can provide the initial enquiry form if this is of any interest to you.

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