Financial adviser negligence

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) Avoidance Schemes

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) avoidance schemes have returned to the headlines following the handing down of a judgement of the First-Tier Tax Tribunal in the case of (1) Crest Nicholson (Wainscott) Limited (2) Crest Nicholson (South East) Limited (3) Crest Nicholson Operations Limited –v- The Commissioners for Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, [2017] UKFTT 134 TC05628.

Claims against financial advisers for negligent investment advice and breach of statutory duty

We regularly make claims for clients who have lost money through bad financial advice. Often these claims result from advice to invest in products that are unsuitable for the client. An investment in high risk ventures for a client whose preference and risk profile were for cautious, safer investments, leaves the adviser exposed if losses result.

Interest rate hedging product mis-selling – when is a claim out of time?

In the recent case Kays Hotels Ltd v Barclays Bank PLC [2014] Barclays tried to strike out a hedge mis-selling claim on the basis that the borrower’s claim was made too late. Barclays argued that because the borrower had been paying large sums on the interest rate hedging product for such a long time, it must have known it had a mis-sale claim, yet had failed to act on it and was now out of time.

The risks and dangers of Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes

Some months after the Financial Services Authority published proposals to ban the promotion of Unregulated Collective Investment Schemes (UCIS) and similar products to most retail investors in the UK, a number of recent decisions and claims have highlighted the risks and exposure for advisers who have recommended and/or sold UCIS, without sufficient explanation of risk or consideration of suitability.

Interest rate swap misselling

Interest rate swaps were originally devised for trading between financial institutions and big corporations. Difficulties have arisen when similar products have been sold to smaller businesses including property developers, hoteliers and so on. It is currently estimated that 40,000 SME’s were mis-sold interest rate swaps. Certain banks have, as a consequence, agreed they will provide redress to non-sophisticated customers.

Mortgage broker banned and censured but not fined by FSA for serious misconduct

A recent FSA Final Notice provides an update on the FSA’s view on serious misconduct by mortgage brokers and the penalties they impose. Raymond Wagner had been investigated by the FSA for his alleged failings and those of his business Ambergate, a high net worth mortgage broker, based in Piccadilly. In April 2011 they notified him that they were going to impose a financial penalty and prohibit him from further regulated activities. In May 2011 Mr Wagner referred the decision to the Upper Tribunal, appealing the proposed financial penalty, a decision that was publicised in late 2012.

Financial Ombudsman increases award limit

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) increased its award limit from £100,000 to £150,000 from January 2012, but alongside this welcome development it seems the FOS has at times struggled to deal with the sheer number of complaints it receives, with delays of up to two years being reported. But our experience is that the service remains a cost-effective – and relatively timely - route for individuals and small businesses with complaints against financial services providers.

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