Help at hand for pen­sion fund vic­tims

Com­pany of­fers in­vest­ment life­line

Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - NEWS - By Jack Troughton [email protected]­

LE­GAL spe­cial­ists are ready to as­sist ex­pats on the Costa win com­pen­sa­tion from fi­nan­cial au­thor­i­ties for losses suf­fered af­ter trans­fer­ring UK pen­sions to QROPS and SIPPS.

In­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors have han­dled the move­ment of funds but the ma­jor­ity were not prop­erly reg­u­lated – their ad­vice some­times mis­lead­ing or putting peo­ple’s cash in un­suit­able in­vest­ments.

And Ex­pat In­vest­ment Claims, which is a trad­ing arm of com­pen­sa­tion spe­cial­ist and fully reg­u­lated claim man­age­ment com­pany Le­gal Force in the UK, is help­ing vic­tims make a case on a ‘no win, no fee’ ba­sis.

For­mer clients of Costa Blanca-based Con­ti­nen­tal Wealth Man­age­ment – which col­lapsed with mas­sive losses just over 12 months ago – are al­ready mak­ing claims.

The re­dress looks to Bri­tain’s Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Com­pen­sa­tion Scheme (FSCS) or the Fi­nan­cial Om­buds­man, in a sim­i­lar way to claims made over the fa­mil­iar PPI – pay­ment pro­tec­tion in­sur­ance scan­dal

Ed Birk­beck, a part­ner in Ex­pat In­vest­ment Claims, said there were around 120,000 QROP cases han­dled by off­shore ad­vi­sors and claimed most clients “have suf­fered losses at the hands of un­reg­u­lated, un­qual­i­fied and un­suit­able” fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors – adding: “We es­ti­mate there are around 25,000 to 30,000 ef­fected clients in the south of Spain.”

He said what hap­pened was off­shore un­reg­u­lated bro­kers used a reg­u­lated UK com­pany to look to make the pen­sion trans­fer, re­ceived a re­port back and claimed they were fully li­censed in a spe­cial­ist field.

Mr Birk­beck said the Fi­nan­cial Con­duct Au­thor­ity had iden­ti­fied the loop­hole and was ‘jump­ing all over these boys’.

He said some un­reg­u­lated fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sors ‘prey on the naivety of peo­ple’ of­fer­ing un­re­al­is­tic re­turns, of­ten putting money at risk in un­suit­able in­vest­ments that earned high com­mis­sions - with­out ex­plain­ing the im­pli­ca­tions.

And he said Ex­pat In­vest­ment Claims ex­am­ined the pa­per trail to es­tab­lish a chain of events to find a ‘cul­pa­ble’ en­tity. “We have had 100% suc­cess; we don’t put a claim in un­less it is go­ing to win.”

Mr Birk­beck said the scheme suc­cess­fully used the reg­u­la­tory process in the UK – ex­pen­sive civil cases in the courts could be tied up for years, although both could be fol­lowed by a vic­tim.

“We know what has gone on if there are grounds for a claim – it can be as sim­ple as a client did not un­der­stand the (in­vest­ment) prod­uct, or the client lost a lot of money through neg­li­gent in­vest­ment, or the fi­nan­cial ad­vi­sor did not ex­plain on­go­ing charges and com­mis­sions and the client was un­aware.”

He said all UK cit­i­zens were pro­tected by the Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices Mar­ket­ing Act, re­gard­less of where they lived in the world and a com­pen­sa­tion pot of £375 mil­lion had al­ready been set aside by the FSCS.

Mr Birk­beck said the size of the prob­lem meant other lit­i­ga­tion com­pa­nies would be­come in­volved as hap­pened over PPI, but his com­pany had won cases since March this year.

To find out more visit www.ex­pat­in­vest­ment­claims. com.

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