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Eurolife could face legal threat as 17m bond losses crystallise

An IFA action group could be set up to start legal action for investors in the Eurolife secured bond which is set to mature next week with investors losing around 17m.

Managing director of West Sussex firm Sovereign Finance Tom Shus-ter is willing to take on Eurolife over the bond which could leave 2,300 investors out of pocket.

Eurolife managing director David Wootton is working on a restructuring plan that should be revealed to investors on Friday, just two days before the bond matures.

It could set up payments returning some capital.

Literature published at the launch of the product said the bond would return either 6.5 per cent annual income, 1.55 per cent quarterly income or 40 per cent growth over the five-and-a-half-year term.

It was sold in 1999, mainly in an Isa, and was structured as debt which enabled the returns to be predicted. The proceeds of the bond were lent to parent group Eurolife Assurance through a subsidiary company, Eurolife Capital Funding.

But Eurolife was forced to admit in 2004 that issues with this subsidiary meant that there would be uncertainty over repayments.

Nvesta, which is the financial products division of Eurolife, has sent out letters to clients explaining that it is very unlikely that capital would be returned when the bond matures on January 23.

The FSA is investigating the sales processes behind structured products and the promises that were made to investors. The design of products is not a focus of the probe.

Shuster says: “If this bond does become a failure to deliver I would certainly want to see other IFA and clients want to start some sort of legal action.”

Nvesta managing director Graham Devile was unavailable for comment.

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