The Endowment Diary

The Endowment Diary


The Endowment Mis-selling Debacle - one of the UK's worst financial scandals

Thursday, August 21, 2003

I finally finished filling in the Ombudsman's form, and collated all my letters relating to my claim against A for endowment number 2.

Sent it off this evening.

Let's see how that goes.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Letter from the Ombudsman, enclosing a complaint form for me to fill in wrt my complaint against A.

The Ombudsman also replied in the letter to my email:

"Regarding your other complaint and recent email. I can only suggest that if you wish to pursue the matter further, you may wish to consider taking legal advice."

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Extract of email to the Ombudsman:

"...Thank for your response regarding my complaint against A/B.

I have taken your advice, and have written to the FSA.

However, I would like to ask one further question.

Since this endowment was sold prior to 29 April 1988, which means you are unable to assist me. What am I meant to do to claim redress, given the fact that both B and A stand behind the letter of the law on this?

I would be grateful for any advice that you can offer me.

Thank you in advance.

Kind regards..."
Extract of letter to the FSA:

"...Dear Sir/Madam,

I am currently seeking financial redress from A/B, for the mis-selling of an A endowment policy by B in 1987.

A key part of my case rests on the relationship (agency/“quasi agency”) between B and A.

I have raised this matter with the Financial Ombudsman Service. Unfortunately, they state that they are unable to help; as the policy was sold prior to 29 April 1988.

However, they have advised me to address the matter to you; as you have a superior database.

I would therefore be very grateful if you could check you records, and advise me as to the relationship that existed between B and A in 1987.

Thank you in advance for your help.

Yours faithfully..."

Extract of letter sent to the Ombudsman:

"...I wish to make a claim for financial redress in respect of an endowment policy sold to me by A in December 1991. The policy number is ***, the target amount being £39700.

The basis of my claim is as follows:

 Other options for repaying the mortgage were not discussed with me.

 The adviser did not explain there was a risk the endowment would not meet the target amount.

 The adviser did not discuss the funds my endowment would be invested in.

 The adviser did not establish my attitude to risk.

 The adviser did not explain the fees and charges on the policy.

 The adviser said that there would be a lump sum in addition at the end of the term.

 The L&G fact find, which dealt with my investment attitude, was not completed; showing that A breached their own procedures.

 Despite the incomplete fact find A assessed that I had a low attitude to risk; yet sold me a product with a high risk profile.

 The written financial quote provided by A at the time stated:

“..A regular investment is made into an endowment life assurance policy, which is designed to repay your mortgage at the end of the mortgage term….

A’s range of build up mortgage plans is designed not only to repay your mortgage at the end of the mortgage term but also to provide you with an additional cash sum….

By taking out an A build up mortgage plan you can be assured that you are making the right decision for 3 important reasons…

1 Investing into an endowment assurance policy offers you the prospect of a substantial surplus cash sum after the mortgage has been repaid..”.

The above constitutes a guarantee.

 I draw your attention to the case (summarised in The Times 26 October 2002) where David Barker cited a 1965 Court of Appeal judgement by Lord Denning which ruled that a verbal statement which induced someone to take out a contract could be considered to be a warranty. Mr Barker won his case. The guarantee quoted above was in writing.

 I first raised my complaint with A on 11 October 2002. Since then I have exchanged a number of letters enquiring as to the progress. I was promised a final response by January 2003, one of several deadlines that was missed. They finally rejected my complaint in a letter dated 29 July 2003. I regard this delay as excessive and unacceptable.

 Finally, why would I have opted for an endowment if it were not going to pay off the mortgage? What would have been the point of finding myself at the end of the term with a shortfall?

I would be grateful for your assistance in claiming redress with regard to this matter.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require further details.

Thank you in advance...."

Monday, August 04, 2003

Extract of letter from A dated 29 July 2003 (relating to complaint about mortgage sold by A):

“I refer to my letter dated 13 June 2003. I have now investigated the issues raised in your letter dated 2 June. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying, however, I was awaiting technical guidance.

I would like to address each issue you have raised one by one.

You state that you believe that your policy was mis-sold as you feel that A procedures should have investigated the incomplete fact find. The fact find is used as a tool to document client details and it was not mandatory for all questions to be completed. Therefore, omission of the section that deals with investment attitude does not constitute evidence of a mis-sale.

You state that it is a contradiction in my assessment of your attitude to risk as being low as I state that there is a risk with your policy. Low risk means that you are prepared to take some risk, this does not mean that you are risk avers (no risk).

It was not a regulatory requirement for insurance companies to state what commission the advisor would receive from the sale of your policy. However, the fees an charges applicable to your policy would have been outlined in the policy literature that was sent with our illustration.

From our records, it appears that you were already in the process of setting up your interest only mortgage directly with ***. From the application form that *** have provided us with, it appears that methods of repayment were already discussed under section 19. As you mortgage had already been set up, you had a deficit in cover that needed to be replaced as ** have confirmed that they required an endowment policy to cover the whole mortgage amount.

You have quoted a A financial quote at the time. You have stated that an endowment policy is designed to repay your mortgage and also provide an additional cash sum. This is what it is designed to do but it is not guaranteed and I can not find any evidence of a guarantee in the quotes provided. The fact that your previous employment was a chartered accountant also leads me to conclude that you had a substantial knowledge of the financial industry and would have understood the literature and the illustration provided at the time of sale.

You have quoted a court case where David Barker cited a 1965 Court of Appeal judgement by Lord Denning, which rules that a verbal statement could be considered a warranty. Verbal and oral evidence can be used as evidence when investigating complaints but we must take into consideration the written evidence on our records. Our file holds an illustration that was sent to you (at your request) which confirms the possibility of a shortfall at maturity and does not give any guarantees. The policy literature that was also sent to you at your request also does not give any guarantees with endowment policies.

You state that you were told in a letter dates 30 April 2003 from my colleague that a consultant would explain the reasons for the delaying completing your case. However, the letter states (your case has now been passed for investigation. A customer relations consultant will be in contact shortly”. This does not state that we would explain the delay but after our investigation into your complaint, we would be contacting you shortly in response to your complaint. I apologise if this letter caused some confusion.

I apologise that your endowment file was not enclosed with my letter dated 15 May 2003. Please find enclosed the application form dated 10 November 1991 etc..

Finally, you have queried why you would have opted for an endowment policy if it were not going to repay your mortgage. I have assessed you as having a low attitude to risk, this means that you are prepared to take a risk with your investment for the possibility of a cash surplus at maturity.…”

Extract of letter from A dated 31 July 2003 (relating to complaint about mortgage sold by B):

“..I apologise on behalf of A for the delay in replying.

I can confirm that at the time of sale there was no relationship between ourselves and B, they were an independent financial broker. The reason they were not acting as an agent for the society was, as stated previously, they ere independent and therefore not acting on behalf of us as a provider.

I note from your letter dated 15 July that you have registered a formal complaint with the Financial Ombudsman.

With regard to your reference to the law of agency, the independent financial broker was acting for the client and not for ourselves….”