FINANCIAL SERVICES TEAM
Thomas Simon has a team of financial services lawyers who specialise in retail financial services law.
Our differentiating factors are that we undertake both claimant and defendant work as well as having someone who worked for more than 12 years in the financial services industry in legal/compliance and senior management roles. We provide a specialist service in a responsible manner, seeking to resolve disputes in as cost effective way as possible for our clients.
Cases our team has worked on include:-
SIPPs / SSASAdvice on non-standard investments used in SIPPs (IFA advised as well as execution only), advising SIPP administrators and trustees on dealings with FCA, being successful in a Court action involving a national SIPP trustee in relation to a TOLATA claim involving commercial property, and advising on complaints handling and FOS actions (both claimant and defendant). We have advised claimants on issues surrounding the quality of information (such as projections) given prior to taking out SIPPs as well as SIPP administrators on their dealings with FCA in relation to non-standard and unregulated investments in SIPPs – these have included investments in biofuel and overseas off-plan property investment schemes.
Financial Services RegulationWe have extensive knowledge of the Financial Services & Markets Act 2000 (FSMA) and ancillary regulations including FCA Handbook and the Conduct of Business Sourcebook rules (COBS). We have acted on claims involving UCIS (unregulated collective investment scheme) products with emphasis on the distinctions between certified and self-certified high net worth investors as well as the applicability of the COBS financial promotion rules. We have advised on claims relating to film schemes – our experience of such schemes also includes having advised on the setting up of a film scheme investment involving a Scarlett Johannson (A Good Woman).
Pension Transfers From Defined Benefit SchemesOur team’s experience extends back to LAUTRO EB16 and the Securities & Investment Board review of transfers of defined benefits occupational pension schemes to personal pension schemes of the 1990’s. Over recent years some defined benefit schemes have provided inducements to deferred members to convert or transfer their benefits, usually by way of providing a payment in exchange for giving up indexation rights in respect of future pension payments (PIE – payments increase exchange) or an enhanced transfer value. We have advised on issues arising from advice given on PIE’s and transfers and understand that FCA is now making a qualitative assessment of some of the advice given in connection with such matters. Section 48 Pensions Scheme Act 2015 now places an obligation on pension scheme trustees or managers to ensure that a member receives “appropriate independent advice” before converting or transferring any benefits under a defined benefits schemes.
Interest Rate Hedging ProductsOur team was at the forefront of this field of law with Stuart Brothers giving a presentation to the All Members Parliamentary Group of MPs formed by Guto Bebb MP in March 2012 on the subject and participating in the FSA review into the sale of interest rate derivatives which gave rise to the FSA redress programme announced in June 2012. Stuart has also written an article for the Law Society Gazette on the topic as well as being part of a specialist group of lawyers in a Law Society Gazette forum. Our team has had the largest number of litigated IRHP cases outside of London. We have both dealt with as well as are currently dealing with cases involving breach of statutory duty claims under section 138D FSMA (usually relating to breaches of COBS 4, 9 &10) as well as relating to claims of LIBOR manipulation.
Advising IFA’s on Authorised Representative AgreementsWe have dealt with claims against IFA’s by their network principals and have often had success in dealing with counterclaims alleging lack of compliance oversight by the networks.
With Profit FundsWhilst these products may be portrayed as being legacy and somewhat Cinderella like in nature, they give rise to many legal issues (including in relation to actuarial discretion and interpretation of contractual benefits including options) on which we can advise. Our team has experience of the FSA review into guaranteed annuity pension benefits (emanating from the furore over Equitable Life’s treatment of guaranteed annuity contracts in respect of members who did not exercise the open market option).
Professional Negligence Actions against IFA’sHow long have you got? We have dealt with many of those which we would normally seek to do by reference to FOS. Most of these matters relate to claims relating to unsuitability under COBS 9 but they have also included failures to have life assurance policies written into trust and breaches of COBS 4 (clear, fair and not misleading rule).
Our specialist team is able to provide an initial consultation free of charge. To arrange a discussion with a member of the team click here or call Stuart Brothers on 029 2055 7260.
Briefing Note: Non-Standard Investments in SIPPs - 18 Months On
Briefing Note: Unregulated Products Invested through SIPPs