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  Title Date  
  Pension Transfers - unsuitable advice  
  Wed, 07 Nov 2018 | Nasar Zamir  
  Consumers have a need for independent financial advice when it concerns arrangements to be made for future pensions. This is particularly true for pension transfers where there is a regulatory requirement for anyone who wishes to convert safeguarded benefits that are worth more than £30,000, e.g. a defined benefit pension, to a flexible arrangement, e.g. those provided by a personal pensions plan (SIPP). Unfortunately, not all financial advice is compliant and poor advice may lead to significant loss for the consumer. We believe consumers will need professional assistance from industry practitioners and Congruent have therefore launched a new service to assist these customers. [see link below]  
  Do you know how much you are paying for death insurance?  
  Mon, 05 Nov 2018 | Roger Grenville-Jones  
  Most insurance policies that pay out on your death are for very many years and include an investment element (either a maturity value at a chosen age or a surrender value if the policy is terminated). This investment element masks the mortality charges (ie the cost of insurance). There are two completely different methods –mortality charges fixed at outset or changed throughout your life. [See link below for the rest of the article.]  
  Berkeley Burke SIPP Administration Ltd (“BBSAL”) Vs Financial Ombudsman Service Limited (“FOS”)  
  Sun, 04 Nov 2018 | Nasar Zamir  
  The high court dismissed an application by the claimant (BBSAL) for judicial review of a FOS decision. The Ombudsman upheld a complaint against BBSAL regarding loss of capital in relation to a permitted investment held in the SIPP platform administered by BBSAL. It was the Ombudsman view the BBSAL did not perform sufficient due diligence on the permitted investment and thereby contravened the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) Principles of Business where; 1) a firm must conduct its business with due skill, care and diligence (principle 2) 2)a firm must pay due regard to the interests of its customers and treat them fairly (principle 6) The court was not persuaded by arguments advanced by BBSAL that it did not advise the client nor did it have duty to check the appropriateness of the investment - as per COBS 9 & 10. Conversely BBSAL argued it had an obligation to execute the transaction on a best efforts basis - as per COBS 11. BBSAL also advanced arguments that the decision between the FOS and Pension Ombudsman Scheme (“POS”) was not consistent – the POS in similar cases ruled against the consumer. However the FOS argued that the regulatory frameworks were different for the FOS and POS and the Ombudsman had wider powers and was not restricted to matters of law – he was able to take into account regulator’s rules and guidance, codes of practice and good industry practice at the relevant time to arrive at a fair and reasonable determination of the complaint. We think that this decision will have a significant impact on current SIPP operators. They will be required to perform better due diligence on permitted investments and make provisions for potential claims on existing investments where the consumer has suffered losses. The FCA has reminded SIPP operators that they had to pay due regard to the FCA Principles of Business in any orderly sale of any block of business where there is a risk of business failure due to potential consumer complaints.  
  GRG complaints process in UK to close to new complaints on 22 October 2018  
  Wed, 25 Jul 2018 | Nasar Zamir  
  RBS announced on the 20 July 2018 three months’ notice to all remaining eligible UK customers that the GRG complaints process will close to new complaints on 22 October 2018. See web link for further information.  
  The market expectation for UK Base Rates  
  Mon, 26 Mar 2018 | Nasar Zamir  
  There has been much talk in the financial press recently about possible interest rate increases where some market participants believe that interest rate increases will be at a greater pace and to a greater extent than previously expected. Most financial institutions have models and systems in place to assist them in analysing the market expectation of future interest rates whereas most smaller businesses does not have access to these tools or the required insight to assist them for financial planning purposes. See link below for further information.  
  The Role of Actuaries as Expert Witness  
  Mon, 15 Jan 2018 | Roger Grenville-Jones  
  When computers started to be used seriously in business, I was asked whether actuaries would become redundant, as computers can calculate numbers a lot more cheaply. But it was true then, and now, that actuaries earn their keep by ensuring that the right numbers are being calculated. This fact underlies my work as an expert, focusing on two aspects of numbers: first, that they are appropriate to the situation, and second (a hobbyhorse of mine) ensuring that advice about financial risk has an array of numbers attached so that the recipient can appreciate the risk (and can focus their attention on the material issues). See weblink for full article.  
  Ground Rents - A Risk Based Valuation  
  Wed, 06 Dec 2017 | Nasar Zamir  
  Prospective investors in leasehold properties typically do not understand the significance of the inflation uplift in ground rents. A combination of high inflation and low interest rates in the UK (mainly due to the effect of the UK leaving the European Union) has caused ground rent investments to be highly valuable. Obviously this has a negative impact on leaseholders who wish to purchase the ground rents e.g. as part of an enfranchisement process. The valuation of ground rents may follow a market based risk approach as detailed in this note. See attached link.  
  FCA Final Summary - RBS Global Restructuring Group  
  Tue, 05 Dec 2017 | Nasar Zamir  
  On 23 October 2017 the Financial Conduct Authority (???FCA???) published an interim report on the independent review of Royal Bank of Scotland (???RBS???)???s treatment of SME customers that were in their Global Restructuring Group (???GRG???). On 28 November 2017 FCA published their final report. There were 214 amendments in the final report ??? most of these were minor changes but there are some significant amendments, which we would like to highlight. It is clear that FCA wishes to adopt stronger language in the final report and some of FCA???s comments are quite significant concerning the treatment of SME customers. Those customers who are currently in the RBS GRG Complaint Process should take note of these comments. We highlight the comments that we regard as the most significant amendments in this update ??? many are new additions to the previous interim report, each is damning and in total they are a very significant indictment of RBS. See link below.  
  GRG Complaints Progress Update - 23 October 2017  
  Mon, 06 Nov 2017 | Nasar Zamir  
  The bank has recently released the third progress report. The timing of this report coincides with the publication of the FCA Interim Summary (see our condensed update). In this update there is an updated report from the Independent Third Party - Sir William Blackburne. This is his third report and in this update he notes that the bank activity is picking up (although not as quickly as he would like) through a redesign of the complaints process. We have noted some highlights below: ??? 154 decisions have been made by RBS but there are 800 complaints awaiting a decision. ??? Only 9 appeals are currently being reviewed by the ITP. The ITP has reached a conclusion on 4 ??? dismissing 3 and upholding 1. ??? The ITP also performs a role with respect to Assurance in the complaints process. In this role the ITP selects a sample to test for a consistent outcome according to the agreed complaints process methodology and in his report 79 of the 85 complaint outcomes were deemed compliant. See https://www.rbs.com/GRG for full update.  
  FCA Interim Summary - RBS Global Restructuring Group  
  Mon, 06 Nov 2017 | Nasar Zamir  
  FCA???s ???Interim Summary??? of the statutory ???skilled person???s??? report entitled ???RBS Group???s treatment of SME customers referred to the Global Restructuring Group??? (???the GRG Report???). The FCA published the above report at the end of October 2017 through some pressure from the Treasury Select Committee (???the Committee???). As the name implies it is a summary of the more comprehensive (300 page) report by Promontory Group ??? the ???skilled person???. The report is deemed to represent a fair and balanced account of the findings of the GRG report ??? this being the assessment of external counsel appointed by the Committee. Findings The Interim Summary itself is over 60 pages long but does highlight a number of areas of concern which are summarised as follows: [See link below]  
  GRG Complaints Progress Update - 1 September 2017  
  Mon, 04 Sep 2017 | Nasar Zamir  
  The bank has released the second progress report. The timing of the report coincides with a number of articles published by the Times in recent days expressing the dissatisfaction of customers in the bank complaints process. In this update there is report from the Independent Third Party - Sir William Blackburne. This is his second report and the most critical - particular in terms of delays by the bank. We have noted some highlights below: (a) Only 3 customers have received outcomes as of the date of the report (b) There have not been any appeals to date (c) Two "ITP delegates" will be appointed to assist in the appeal process The bank states that the automatic refund is substantially complete - with the exception of a handful of cases. The bank also states that it will complete the complaints process by the end of 2017. We think this timetable is ambitious judging from the current state of the complaints process. The bank has also provided helpful FAQs on the appeal process which confirms the restrictive nature of the appeal process e.g. no appeal on Consequential Losses etc. The most significant update is the explanation of what constitutes a Consequential Loss and some helpful examples on the standard of evidence required to support a claim. Those familiar with the FCA IRHP Review process will see parallels in the design. We remain concerned about the link between Direct Loss and Consequential Loss. The bank will only review a claim if you have accepted the Direct Loss and therefore if there is no Direct Loss (or a small loss) there cannot be a claim (or at least a significant claim) for consequential losses.  
  Financial Claims - Congruent and our Competitors  
  Wed, 21 Jun 2017 | Roger Grenville-Jones  
  Congruent is one of many firms offering help. But we don???t all operate in the same way or from the same skill set and experience. Congruent???s skill set is actuarial and is based on experience in financial risk management learned in-house in insurance and banking institutions as well as in providing expert witness testimony. Obviously we have competitors, either with the same skill sets and experience or with alternatives - that may be more suitable in some situations. Congruent recognises that we may not be the best choice in all circumstances ??? ???horses for courses???. However we are concerned at the extent of competitors offering competing services without observing the various laws that have been enacted by parliament to provide consumer protection. See link for for further information.  
  The Role of the Independent Third Party ("ITP") in the RBS GRG Complaints Process  
  Mon, 12 Jun 2017 | Nasar Zamir  
  RBS has appointed Sir William Blackburne as the ITP. His role is to provide ???Assurance??? and ???Appeals??? in relation to the complaint process. ??? The Assurance process. To test the robustness of the process the ITP will sample (in a randomized way) approximately 10% of the complaints for adherence to this process. It is not clear how this will be done but it is clear that this will not entail a full review of each complaint. ??? The Appeals process. Where a complainant exercises their right to appeal the ITP will undertake a detailed review of the underlying documents. Given the number of appeals could be significant the ITP will delegate this task to a team of recently qualified barristers who will put forward a recommendation to the ITP for his determination. The ITP provides a useful role in the complaints process but only time will tell whether it will be effective. In exercising the right to appeal, the complainant runs the risk that the appeal process may end up with a worse offer. In withdrawing the offer the bank could be accused of diluting the important role of the ITP  
  No Win ??? No Fee But at what cost if you win?  
  Fri, 02 Jun 2017 | Roger Grenville-Jones  
  You have a claim and need help. It might be a refund of Payment Protection Insurance premiums or you may be entitled to compensation for an injury. If you are a businessman or woman a bank might have mis-sold you an interest rate hedging product or moved you into special measures without justification and abused their power over you. ???No Win ??? No Fee??? sounds attractive so you sign up with a claims management company. Then you win and work out how much you have to pay, and it seems disproportionate to the extent of the help you were given. But even if the matter has been finalised ??? possibly years go - if you have paid too much you may be able to get some money back. See full article in link below.  
  Derivative instruments ??? financial risk and disclosure  
  Mon, 27 Mar 2017 | Nasar Zamir  
  Most financial directors will be aware of the fair-value treatment of derivatives required by modern accounting standards, particularly with the introduction of FRS 102 (mandatory for periods commencing on or after 1 January 2016). This ???fair-value??? treatment has been well understood by the banks for many years, by developing and implementing sophisticated models for valuation and risk modelling of derivative instruments, in order to assist their knowledge of the financial risks inherent in their ???book??? of these products. However, the end users of derivative products (either corporate or non-sophisticated financial institutions) typically do not have the skills, knowledge or expertise to value or model the risks of their holdings of derivative instruments. Instead, they are forced to rely on their product provider or accountant to provide them with a basic level of information to satisfy disclosure and financial reporting requirements. [See link for the rest of the article]  
  FRS 102: Tackling the hidden pitfalls  
  Tue, 21 Mar 2017 | Nasar Zamir  
  The majority of accountants are already aware of the ???fair-value??? treatment of derivatives required by modern accounting standards, particularly with the introduction of FRS 102 (mandatory for periods commencing on or after 1 January 2016). This ???fair-value??? treatment has been well understood by the banks for many years, however, the end users of derivative products (either corporate or non-sophisticated financial institutions) typically do not have the skills, knowledge or expertise to value or model the risks of their holdings of derivative instruments. See link below.  
  RBS (mis) conduct provisions increase to almost ??6 BLN according to 2016 Financial Results  
  Mon, 27 Feb 2017 | Nasar Zamir  
  RBS released the 2016 financial results on the 24 February 2016. The loss for 2016 of almost ??7 BLN includes a ??3 BLN provision for RMBS issuance and underwriting, ??600 MLN of additional PPI provisions and ??400 MLN provision with respect to RBS treatment of SMEs by GRG. We think the ??400 MLN provision looks optimistic (it includes costs of running the scheme, refund of complex fees and compensation payouts!) - compare this with a ??1.4 BLN cost incurred by RBS under the FCA IRHP Review and you can expect an upward revision of this provision.  
  How and why to support clients with the RBS GRG complaints process  
  Tue, 07 Feb 2017 | Nasar Zamir  
  Nasar Zamir of Congruent discusses the RBS complaints process for GRG losses and how specialist guidance can best support a claim. See Accountancy Age article in link below.  
  RBS GRG Complaints Process ??? Latest Update  
  Mon, 06 Feb 2017 | Nasar Zamir  
  Update 1 February 2017. The bank updated the guidance on their website. There are a few important changes that should be highlighted. 1) For customers of the Republic of Ireland that were affected by GRG actions are subject to a different ombudsman scheme (Financial Services Ombudsman or "FSO") and therefore different guidelines for complaint resolution i.e. the Central Bank of Ireland???s Consumer Protection Code (???CPC???). This code is analogous to FCA DISP but has different timetable and procedure for the management of complaints. 2) The bank has clarified the process of appeal to the Independent Third Party (???ITP"). It states that any offer is open for acceptance within a 28 day period. The offer will lapse after this 28 period or if an appeal is made to the ITP. The updated principles also note that upon appeal there will only be one further i.e. final outcome letter which will incorporate the ITP decision.  
  RBS GRG Complaints Process ??? Information Pack  
  Thu, 19 Jan 2017 | Nasar Zamir  
  Our detailed information pack includes: 1) an overview of the complaint process 2) the service Congruent will provide 3) the principles that apply in the complaint process 4) the journey for the customer 5) frequently asked questions on the complaint process  
  RBS GRG Complaints Process ??? Journey  
  Tue, 20 Dec 2016 | Nasar Zamir  
  RBS have produced a summary document which describes eight stages of the process (called the "Journey"). We provide our independent assessment of what the bank says and what it really means. See document in the link below.  
  RBS GRG Complaints Process ??? Principles  
  Mon, 19 Dec 2016 | Nasar Zamir  
  RBS published the Principles on 14 December 2016. We provide a short summary in this note and highlight what we consider to be important factors for customers to consider. As the name implies this is a complaints process ??? RBS will only initiate a review if customers lodge a complaint. The Bank will follow the FCA guidelines for dispute resolutions as formulated in DISP rules. DISP covers the complaint handling rules (as well as Ombudsman rules) of all respondents that are regulated by the FCA and this includes the procedures and communication timetable for complaints. For further information see full document in link below.  
  RBS??? suggestion that SMEs should not require professional assistance with their GRG claims is ???misleading???  
  Fri, 09 Dec 2016 | Nasar Zamir  
  In a recent statement, RBS described the new complaints process as ???very straight forward and we are here to answer any questions you may have???. However, experts at Congruent, a firm specialising in dealing with complex financial complaints, has said that some SMEs will struggle to prepare their claim or will fail to meet RBS??? requirements as a result of failure to seek professional assistance. See our press release.  
  Congruent launches new service for GRG customers  
  Thu, 08 Dec 2016 | Nasar Zamir  
  Royal Bank of Scotland (the ???Bank???) announced on 08 November 2016 a new complaints process (the ???Review???) for eligible customers whose banking relationship was handled by RBS???s Global Restructuring Group (???GRG???) during the period from 2008 to 2013. A complaint by a business about its treatment by GRG that seeks more than just the refund of ???complex??? fees will have to be specifically initiated by the customer. If the complaint is upheld by the Bank, they will pay ???direct losses??? incurred by the customer and invite the customer to submit a complaint for consequential losses. There is limited independent oversight in this review process - limited to the determination of direct losses and there will be limited assistance or independent oversight for a consequential loss claim. We believe customers will need professional assistance from industry practitioners and Congruent have therefore launched a new service to assist these customers  
  FCA IRHP Review: Sophistication Challenges  
  Fri, 08 Jul 2016 | Nasar Zamir  
  The review has entered a sunset period with only a small number of cases outstanding - predominately consequential loss claims. However, there is still opportunity to get fair compensation for customers that were sold an IRHP who are deemed not eligible to participate in the review. A number of our clients have submitted challenges to the sophistication assessment of the banks and there is still opportunity to do so. Challenges to sophistication assessments do work - in one case not only was the sophistication challenge successful we were able to secure a positive redress outcome for our client.  
  FOS upholds 49% Interest Rate Hedging Product (IRHP) cases  
  Thu, 22 Oct 2015 | Nasar Zamir  
  If customers are not satisfied with the bank redress determination (under the FCA IRHP Review) they may be able to refer their complaint to the FOS. The latest Ombudmans News (issue 149) shows between April to September 2015 the FOS received 254 IRHP complaints where it upheld 49%. This is good news for customers that are not satisfied with the review outcome.  
  Congruent submit evidence of FCA IRHP Review to Treasury Committee  
  Thu, 15 Oct 2015 | Nasar Zamir  
  Response to the Eleventh Report of the Treasury Committee, 2014 -15 Conduct and Competition in SME Lending June 2015. The Eleventh Report, although dated June 2015, was published on the Committee???s web page on 12 October 2015. We submit the following comments. See link below.  
  Latest FCA IRHP progress update - close to the end?  
  Mon, 07 Sep 2015 | Nasar Zamir  
  The most recent report from the FCA relates to progress by banks within the FCA IRHP Review for the quarterly period ending June 2015. The headline number has increased from ??1,901 MLN to ??1,991 MLN of which (only) 22 MLN is consequential losses. Consequential loss are also covered in this report and it compares the results against the previous update.  
  Latest FCA IRHP progress update (latest report)  
  Fri, 22 May 2015 | Nasar Zamir  
  The most recent report from the FCA relates to progress by banks within the FCA IRHP Review for the quarterly period ending June 2015. The headline number has increased from ??1,901 MLN to ??1,991 MLN of which (only) 22 MLN is consequential losses. Consequential loss are also covered in this report and it compares the results against the previous update.  
  Treasury Committee publishes agreement between FCA and banks on IRHP Review  
  Mon, 16 Feb 2015 | Nasar Zamir  
  The treasury committee published the terms of agreement between the banks and the FCA on the 12 February 2015 (see link below). These documents provide valuable insight in the principles behind the redress outcomes produced by banks and add much needed clarity to the process.  
  Latest FCA IRHP progress update (January 2015 report)  
  Thu, 29 Jan 2015 | Nasar Zamir  
  The second (long awaited) quarterly report from the FCA. The report highlights the progress made by the banks in the last quarter of 2014. The headline number has increased from ??1,542 MLN ??1,786 MLN which is mostly product redress (see note on consequential loss below) as a result of an additional 1412 offers being accepted. On consequential losses, banks do not like paying large amounts of redress for consequential losses. There have been no change in number of claims settled over ??100K in the last quarter!  
  Consequential Loss Report 25 Nov 2014  
  Consequential Loss Report  
  Tue, 25 Nov 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  See our example report submitted under the FCA IRHP Review  
  Guidance for Businesses on Consequential Losses  
  Tue, 25 Nov 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  Business who have suffered Consequential Losses may require expert analysis and well as advice and representation in their claim. Congruent Financial Partners ("CFP") provide a service in this respect which is an alternative to a business engaging a firm of lawyers (with assisted experts for the forensic analysis as necessary). The document gives an overview of the considerations that a client might have when engaging CFP in the context of Consequential Losses within the FCA IRHP Review.  
  Latest FCA IRHP progress update (October report) - The statistics do not lie  
  Wed, 15 Oct 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  The FCA has moved to quarterly reporting in this report which includes progress in July, August and September 2014. The amount of redress paid to date (to end of September) is ??1.542 MLN compared to ??1.224 at the end of June. The update include consequential losses. See link for full details  
  Businesses mis-sold twice 30 Sep 2014  
  Businesses mis-sold twice  
  Tue, 30 Sep 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  Some business customers of banks that were mis-sold Interest Rate Hedging Products have been mis-sold again - by accountants, derivatives specialists or other professional firms that have offered to provide them with assistance with their claims but are not legally allowed to do so. The Ministry of Justice is so concerned about the situation that on 26 September 2014 they issued a Special Bulletin explaining who can provide professional services legally and who cannot. Banks will now have to go through their records and warn customers who might have been misled and customers should be able to recover fees that they have paid and possibly have their case re-opened if they might have been prejudiced because the bank did not carry out the checks that it ought to have carried out. Customers who are currently pursuing claims, especially for consequential losses, may need to find another adviser - who is operating legally - urgently.  
  Latest FCA progress report (July report)  
  Fri, 11 Jul 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  According to the latest report ??1,224 MLN redress has been paid compared to just over ??1 BLN a month earlier. The payment rate of around ??200 MLN per month has been maintained by the Banks over the last few months but we note that there has been a slow down in the number of compliance assessments completed to date which now stands at 97%. Overall the rate of non-compliance has fallen to 91% which is its lowest over the review period (the peak was 96%). This dovetails with CFP recent experience, particularly with an increase in clients receiving no redress. See link below for full commentary.  
  CFP Principal quoted in Herald Scotland  
  Wed, 25 Jun 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  There has been recent press reports about Lloyds liabilities for IRHP claims far in excess of their current provisions . We think the estimates (5 BLN) are credible contrary to the Bank's position. See the commentary in news publication below.  
  CFP launches new service for SME victims of mis-sold Fixed Rate Loans ("FRLs")  
  Tue, 17 Jun 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  First dedicated Fixed Rate Loan (???FRL???) redress service for SMEs launched. Redress for mis-sold FRLs could dwarf the ??3 billion set aside by banks for mis-sold standalone interest rate hedging products. See press announcement below.  
  Latest FCA IRHP progress report (June report)  
  Thu, 12 Jun 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  Latest figures from FCA on the Bank IRHP review show the progress made in May 2014. Total pay-outs to customers is ??1,059 MLN versus ??797.6 MLN at the end of the previous month. The increase of ??261.4 MLN is an increase from previous month's pay-outs (??199 MLN) but the total still falls short of the amount banks have provisioned for this past business review, which is north of ??3.5 BLN. See our full analysis on the link below:  
  Alternative product redress - An advised sale?  
  Wed, 11 Jun 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  According to the latest FCA IRHP update approximately 1/3rd of redress offers require the customer to take out, and pay for, an alternative product. The alternative product "offer" is conducted as a regulated non-advised sale by the Bank whereas it could be argued that it should be conducted as an advised sale. See link for more information.  
  Fixed Rate Loans (FRLs) and IRHP - What is the difference?  
  Mon, 12 May 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  Fixed Rate Loans ("FRLs") are offered by most UK Banks to SMEs as an alternative to variable rate loans. We look at the similarities between FRLs and IRHPs (Interest Rate Hedging Products) and the options an SME has if he has been (mis) sold one by the bank.  
  Latest FCA IRHP progress update (May report)  
  Thu, 08 May 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  Latest figures from FCA on the Bank IRHP review updates the progress made in April 2014 which shows an increase in pay-outs to customers of ??797.6 MLN versus ??598.4 MLN in previous month. The increase of ??199 MLN is an increase from previous month's pay-outs (??116 MLN) but still falls short of the amount banks have provisioned for this past business review. See link below for full analysis  
  You are told you are "sophisticated" by the Bank - what next?  
  Fri, 02 May 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  The Bank has informed you that you are a "sophisticated" customer with respect to the FCA IRHP review and therefore you are not eligible to have your sale reviewed under this Past Business Review programme. We look at a number of options available for the customer.  
  Dispelling some myths about the FCA process  
  Tue, 22 Apr 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  We look at a number of statements made by Banks and the FCA with respect to the IRHP Review and mark them accordingly.  
  Consequential losses - is 8% (simple) interest enough?  
  Tue, 22 Apr 2014 | Roger Grenville-Jones  
  We look at the default position offered to SMEs respect to consequential losses (that is if product redress is due). We find that 8% interest is an ungenerous default position and specific circumstances may justify more.  
  Note on FOS awards 11 Mar 2014  
  Note on FOS awards  
  Tue, 11 Mar 2014 | Roger Grenville-Jones  
  The FOS cannot order the Bank to pay more than ??150,000. If you ought to receive more than this amount you will no longer be able (following the Court of Appeal decision on 14 February 2014 in the case of Clarke v In Focus) to accept the FOS award and then pursue litigation for a further amount. If you are in this position you should not accept the FOS award without consulting a solicitor.  
  Alternative Product Redress - What it means and should you accept this offer?  
  Wed, 05 Mar 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  The use of alternative product redress has increased in February 2014 according to the latest FCA review of IRHP sales by Banks to "non-sophisticated" customers. This shows that approximately one in three redress outcomes proposed by the Bank have adopted an alternative product as a solution. The increase of an alternative product redress is worrying trend for customers as there is unlikely to be full transparency of product pricing and charges. Moreover, providing an alternative product is not an act of generosity by the Bank - the customer has already paid for (or will pay for) the product and is entitled to understand fully how the alternative product is suitable for their needs - to the same standards as a compliant sale of a new product. See website link below for full details.  
  Latest FCA IRHP progress update (March report)  
  Wed, 05 Mar 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  Latest figures from FCA on the Bank IRHP review relates to progress made in February which shows an increase in pay-outs to customers of 482 MLN versus 306.30 MLN in previous month. However it shows a worrying trend in increase of outcomes where there no redress is paid and an increase of alternative products used as a redress solution. In particular CFP note the following: ??? Rate of non-compliance remains unchanged at 96% in February (96% in January) however there is an increase in outcomes where no redress is paid which is 8.2% in February versus 7.5% in January. ??? The use of alternative product redress has also increased in February. There has been 2623 alternative product redress outcome out of a population of 7931 where redress outcome has been communicated i.e.33.2% (approx.). The increase of alternative product redress is worrying trend for customers as there is unlikely to be full transparency of product pricing and a risk that future mis-sales may arise.  
  UK Banks - How much have they provisioned for IRHP Redress?  
  Tue, 04 Mar 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  Major UK Banks have now released final results for 2013. In the annual accounts and reports you will find the following provisions for the estimated liability for IRHP mis-selling (see link below). The provision will include redress costs, administration costs for the project and the costs in the termination of outstanding derivative contracts at nil value (which is likely to result in a loss for the Bank) but will not include consequential losses (which could be as large or even larger in some cases). Therefore the "pay-out" per population is not truly reflective of the average amount each customer may get if a trade was deemed non-compliant. What is interesting (and relevant) is the variation in this estimated "pay-out" per population between Banks with RBS (and HSBC) a clear outlier compared to Barclays or Lloyds!  
  Why CFP and not someone else? 10 Feb 2014  
  Why CFP and not someone else?  
  Mon, 10 Feb 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  This is a fair and reasonable question and as Actuaries we attempt to provide an objective answer. Our IRHP Redress Service is a fully fledged offering for clients that are in need of expert representation in managing a claim. See our website link below for the full answer!  
  Limitation - CFP Response to Times article  
  Fri, 07 Feb 2014 | Roger Grenville-Jones  
  The article ("Anger at delay to compensate SMEs for interest rate swaps mis-selling as time runs out", The Times, Saturday 11 January 2014) states that small businesses mis-sold hedging products are running out of time to take legal action, based on the six-year statute of limitations. Although section 2 of the Limitation Act 1980 does indeed state that "An action founded on tort shall not be brought after the expiration of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued" that section does not normally apply in these cases because of section 14A (added by the Latent Damage Act 1986). ??The added section applies to any action for damages for negligence (except personal injuries) and defines the limitation period as the later of six years from the date on which the cause of action accrued and three years from "the earliest date on which the plaintiff had both the knowledge required for bringing an action for damages in respect of the relevant damage and a right to bring such an action".?? The total limitation period is subject to a fifteen year cut off from the date of the negligent act or omission and therefore the reference to a definitive six year limitation period is misleading. The article also suggests that if a bank settles the basic repayment it might drag out paying the further consequential losses so that potential victims run out of time to claim. ??This is unnecessarily alarmist because if the bank has admitted liability (e.g. by documenting the admission of liability in a settlement agreement and compensating the basic loss) the limitation clock will almost certainly have stopped running.  
  Fact Find Meeting - Everything you need to know (and was afraid to ask)  
  Wed, 05 Feb 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  All "in-scope" clients (i.e. those at are deemed "non-sophisticated") will be contacted by the Bank to attend a Fact Find meeting. The meeting will be attended by the Bank, the Independent Third Party ("ITP") and the client. The client may be accompanied by legal / professional advisers (these costs should be recoverable as consequential losses). The role of the ITP is that of an "observer" only and they will not be able to comment on the case or provide any advice through the course of the meeting. It should be noted that the client can decline the invitation to attend the Fact Find meeting, accept the invitation or provide a written statement. See our website link for full information  
  Latest FCA IRHP progress update  
  Tue, 04 Feb 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  Key summary ??? Pay-out hits ??306 MLN in January 2014 (??158 MLN end of December) ??? Rate of compliance assessments have slowed to 57% (48% end of December) ??? Rate of non-compliance remains unchanged at 96% (it was 90% in pilot study) ??? There are 682 outcomes where no redress is due out of 6400 redress determination ??? All banks will finish review end of May 2014 with the exception of Barclays (June 2014) CFP Analysis ??? Compliance assessment has slowed to 57%. It was evident at year end that Banks were "cherry picking" easier cases to improve the statistics (no doubt from pressure from FCA) and deferring the more complex cases to later stages. ??? 682 outcomes have been communicated to the customer where no redress is due. A breakdown of this data shows that there are 310 sales that are deemed as compliant and therefore 372 where no economic detriment has been suffered by the customer (even though there has been a non-compliant sale). This statistic looks high considering that in most cases the customer would have suffered some economic loss.  
  Latest FCA IRHP progress update  
  Fri, 10 Jan 2014 | Nasar Zamir  
  This is the latest IRHP relating to progress by Banks in December. Key highlights: i) Non compliance rate has increased to 96% (95% in November). In the pilot they commented that they believe the rate on non-compliance was 90%; ii) The number of compliance assessment has increased 48% (34% in November). This increase of 14% is due to Banks "cherry picking" the easier cases and them adopting a "fast track" approach to some cases (where the notional of the trades are small). This is likely to slow down over the next few month; iii) There are 672 outcomes where no Redress is due. That looks to high compared to the current Redress population of 7500 i.e. 9% approx in relation to the overall compliant rate of 4%. Seems inconsistent; and iv) Bank timetable for completions looks optimistic. Most aim to finish by May 2014 (Lloyds looks optimistic) with the exception of Barclays which aims to complete by end of June 2014 (an indication of the more complex client portfolio?).  
  BBC article on the Panorama 'swap scandal'  
  Mon, 14 Oct 2013 | Nasar Zamir  
  Click on link below.  
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