At the start the year many of us take the opportunity to reflect on our finances and the provision we are making for the future. The motivation for investment might be early retirement, children’s university fees or simply a comfortable lifestyle. Whatever that motivation is, it is important to review your investments regularly to ensure you don’t fall in to the minority of unacceptable performance and or even complete loss of investment at the hands of a few negligent financial advisors.
Although there has been considerable regulation imposed in recent years on financial advisors to help prevent abuses and to make sure that charging is more transparent, as solicitors in Harrogate we have received instructions on a regular basis by individuals with problems which have included the wrong investments being sold to them, unacceptable losses of capital, money in risky offshore investments and potentially fraudulent “tax efficient schemes” to name just a few.
It may be that a financial advisor has failed to understand your financial position or your priorities. They may have incorrectly assessed your willingness to accept risk in your investment strategy or they have made recommendations which were simply unsuitable.
Suitability is a key component to your investment and can be more important to the outcome of a claim than the warning of a risk that might have been provided at the time the investment was taken out.
If you feel aggrieved, there are options open to you which do not necessarily include going to Court. Claims can potentially be resolved via the Financial Ombudsman Service. This body can make decisions which bind the financial advisor to pay compensation up to a maximum amount of £150,000. If you do not like the decision you are not forced to accept it and can continue with your claim by other means. The Financial Services Compensation Scheme is also available as a fund of last resort if, for example, your financial advisor does not have insurance and is unable to pay the compensation due.
We have assisted a number of individuals in the last few years to assess whether a claim should be brought through these organisations and provided legal input which has resulted in very successful outcomes. However, in some limited circumstances and particularly for larger claims, legal proceedings may be required. Ultimately, by seeking financial advice, you are looking to be put in the position you should have been in had you not received the poor advice or service.
Keeping abreast of how your investments are performing in a fast-moving economic situation is difficult and consequently many people appoint a financial advisor to carry on the specialist activity for them. As such, financial advisors are placed in an important position of trust and confidence to look after investments for their clients which will ultimately have an impact on lifestyle, retirement plans and the future of our children. In short, the financial advisors have considerable responsibility with our hard-earned money and life decisions.
When things go badly wrong and your expectations have not been met, a claim may be a distinct possibility.
Jonathan Mortimer is head of our Litigation team and specialises in the resolution of complex issues such as financial investment. Email email@example.com