A financial advisor has lost a court fight to overturn a High Court ruling made last month ordering it to pay more than £2 million to its former clients.
An application by TBO Investments Limited to in effect appeal the original ruling of the High Court and have a re-trial was rejected on Thursday by Judge Seymour QC.
TBO Investments Limited, the company owned in part by Godfrey Bloom, the former UKIP MEP and where he is understood still to own the majority of the shares had a judgment entered against it on 30 June 2014 for £2,135,676. That judgment now remains and TBO Investments Limited were also ordered to pay an additional sum of £10,000 for the costs incurred in the appeal process.
Mr Scott Robinson failed to attend the first hearing due to what he described as family stress and there was no legal representation for the company in Court. Mr Robinson then attempted to overturn the decision against his company and seek a retrial but was unsuccessful.
In the first judgment in the High Court on 30th June, Mr and Mrs Mohun-Smith brought a claim against the company as a result of negligent recommendations which were made to them in 2007 and 2009. Although Mr and Mrs Mohun-Smith had asked TBO to recommend cautious investments from which they could draw an income, TBO instead put in place numerous high risk investments which were not properly explained to them.
Mr Mohun-Smith says:
“I relied upon the financial advisor to put in place investments for us that would provide a reliable and comfortable standard of living for the rest of our lives. However, to my complete horror, it has become clear that nearly all our money was placed in unregulated collective investment schemes which have been suspended with an almost complete loss of capital.”
Pressure is also continuing to mount on the financial advisor as a result of another adverse decision by the Financial Ombudsman Service in recent weeks.
In a second case, on 9 July a further finding of negligent advice was made against TBO Investments Limited and Mount Sterling Wealth Limited by the Financial Ombudsman Service. The Claimant in this case a Mrs Q from Leeds (adopted by the Financial Ombudsman Service to ensure confidentiality) brought a claim for negligent recommendations made by both companies between 2007 and 2013 which resulted in an appreciable loss of capital and income in retirement.
An Adjudicator for the Financial Ombudsman Service made a finding that Mrs Q had been unfairly exposed to “more risk than she was willing to take or able to tolerate”. Both companies failed to respond to the decision in time and the matter automatically passed to the Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman reviewed the decision of the Adjudicator and on 9 July 2014 upheld the complaint stating that the advice provided was unsuitable and also criticised both companies for “unnecessarily prolonging the matter” and causing “Mrs Q a degree of distress and inconvenience”.
Jonathan Mortimer of Raworths Solicitors is now instructed by both claimants to take enforcement action to ensure the judgment and the awards which continue to mount up against the financial advisor are paid. He says:
“We will be taking immediate steps to enforce the judgment which is likely to include a winding-up petition against TBO. Based upon the failure of the financial advisors to co-operate with the proceedings so far, it seems that only strong action will encourage them to face up to their obligations to Mr and Mrs Mohun-Smith and Mrs Q respectively”.
Mrs Mohun-Smith says:
“What annoys me the most is that both TBO and the main director Scott Robinson failed to make any monetary offer to settle the case or even to agree to a mediation. Instead, they conducted their case aggressively right up to a few weeks before the Trial and then did not even bother to attend. Scott Robinson sent a letter to the Court stating that he was unable to attend due to family stress. The Judge had none of it and the matter proceeded quite correctly in their absence. The application for a re-trial was also completely without merit and was quite rightly thrown out”.