The UK's Financial Services Compensation Scheme is now open to claims against Abana Unipessoal Lda (Abana), a Portuguese firm that, prior to 31 December 2020, passported into the UK solely for insurance intermediation.

FSCS said in a statement on 24 May that it had "determined that Abana undertook regulated activities for customers outside of Abana's insurance intermediation permissions in the UK".

These regulated activities included arranging pension transfers, notably into the Avalon & Westerby  SIPP, both UK-based SIPP providers, it said. 

FSCS further said protection may exist for customers where: Abana arranged and / or advised a customer's pension transfer in the UK, and through Abana's agent(s), with the pension transfer into the Avalon SIPP; and the claim meets the qualifying conditions for paying compensation under its rules as set by the Financial Conduct Authority. 

Protection may also exist where "there is evidence to suggest that after late May 2014 Abana was not liable for the acts / omissions of its agent(s) in arranging / advising customer pension transfers, and that those who did arrange the customer pension transfer after late May 2014 did so on a basis which FSCS protection does not extend to".

Accordingly, FSCS said, while each claim will be considered on its merits, some customer claims against Abana involving pension transfers after late May 2014 may not meet the qualifying conditions for FSCS to pay compensation. FSCS will write to those customers whose claims fall into this category.

FSCS was also aware that the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) has issued decisions upholding customers' complaints against Abana. Customers' claims submitted to FSCS against Abana are considered on a case by case basis by FSCS and under our rules, which are different from FOS; and FSCS is currently only open to claims against Abana from customers who transferred their pension into the Avalon SIPP and not the Westerby SIPP.

This is because FSCS said it understood that Westerby SIPP is still a live entity. Any claims against Abana involving a transfer into the Westerby SIPP should be directed to Westerby SIPP, or the FOS as appropriate, it said.