Help at hand for pension fund victims
Company offers investment lifeline
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.