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FSA loses bid to stop IFA’s harassment court case

A county court has rejected the FSA’s bid to quash a case brought by a retired IFA who is suing the regulator for harassment.

In August, Money Marketing revealed that John Calland is suing the FSA under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, alleging the FSA, the Financial Services Compensation Scheme and the Financial Ombudsman Service worked together to unfairly progress loss assessments and solicit pension complaints from former clients.

Calland, who retired as principal of Calland Insurance and Mortgage Services in December 1997 and is now 72, has been involved in a 10-year battle with the three authorities which has seen the Financial Services Compensation Scheme reprimanded for bullying and the Financial Ombudsman Service reproached for soliciting complaints.

The FSA submitted an application to strike out the case.

It said that Calland’s harassment allegations are unfounded and that it was carrying out its pension review duties, set out in the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and the Designation of Pensions Provisions Instrument 2001.

It added that it has a wide statutory immunity to claims for damages relating to its activities under the FSMA unless its actions are carried out in bad faith or in contravention of the Human Rights Act 1998.

After hearing the application at Exeter county court, deputy district judge Karen Rea rejected the FSA’s bid to strike out the claim.

In her judgment, she says: “I consider that the respondent’s case is better than merely arguable, and that, therefore, it has a real prospect of success, in that it is not fanciful, false or imaginary and I do not find his case improbable.”

Foot Anstey partner David Turner, who is representing Calland, says: “This judgment is a good outcome for Mr Calland, it is also in my view a correct one.”

Calland says: “Since the judge considers my case to have a reasonable chance of success, it is unacceptable that the FSA’s complaints department, and subsequently the Complaints Commissioner, declined to investigate my complaint.”

The FSA says: “We intend to appeal against the county court judgment. We are issuing no further comment.”


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There are 33 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. its interesting that the FSA’s argument is that they are immune from the law!

  2. Hector must be enjoying the accountability that he claims his organisation longs for.

  3. The FSA are immune from prosecution unless they are found not to be acting in good faith, or as stated above in Breach of the HRA.

    Although not a government department (tehnically a company limited by guarantee) the FSA is provided with this immunity on the same basis as civil servants of the government……go figure! lol

    Not a government department but created by government, subject to same immunity as civil servants, but not civil servants… web address…you would be forgiven for thinking they were run by government wouldnt you!

  4. Just a shame that the protection for IFAs that a judgement in favour of Mr Calland would provide precedent for has not been achieved this way before. Lots of posturing and no action from AIFA, IFADU etc – hope they all contribute to the cost of providing him with a barrister with the appropriate expertise to take on the FSA’s army that we are all paying for.

  5. Yes Nick, they need to be immune from the law because of the number of mistakes they make!

  6. ” it has a wide statutory immunity to claims for damages relating to its activities”
    Does this not sound absolutely terrifying?

    Good luck to this chap. No one and no organisation should be unnacountable. Accountability is the cornerstone of democracy.

  7. So the playground bully is finally brought to answer for his despicable actions.
    Well done John Calland.
    It’s a typical kneejerk response by an organisation that has no moral fibre and a limitless supply of (OUR) money to shroud wave and say they’ll appeal against the judgement to allow the case to be heard.
    They probably don’t like the idea of their ghastly doings to be brought out into the daylight.for all of us to see.
    What a bunch of wasters.

    PS I do hope Moneymarketing gives this case full airing when it finally comes to court. We need to know the ftrue extent of the bully’s behaviour.

  8. It seems that the FSA is like the regime from North Korea – do as we tell you and you cannot argue with us. ie we are immune from all.

  9. Poor little FSA darlings, to be forced to answer a claim against their draconian bullying tactics.

    We will soon find out what being on the other end is really like.

    I hope this guy succeeds in getting judgement against the FSA and is not tempted to take an offer of settlement out of court.

    We need such precedent then we can truly be deemed human under the HRA, until now, IFAs have constantly been denied their rights under the law by an unaccountable regulator, whose actions have not covered themselves in glory since they were formed.

    Bring Back FIMBRA and LAUTRO I say, let’s get proper rules, not flim flam wooly worded uninterpretable nonsense.

    Let’s have a compensation scheme funded by Product levies.

    An Ombudsman service not answerable to the FSA but conducted on a legal basis

    And why not go one step further and trash the RDR and save us and the consumers billions of pounds in wasted fees.

    Fat Chance

  10. Anonymous | 5 Jan 2012 9:12 am

    Give me a call so that I can put you straight on a few misconceptions, whoever you are.

  11. As you may recall, in his statement last March to the TSC, Hector Sants carefully omitted to specify on just whose part he’s such a strong supporter of accountability. What he really meant is that whilst he’s a strong supporter of accountability to the FSA on the part of everyone else, accountability on the part of the FSA itself is a very different matter.

    He also claimed that the FSA has no persecutory agenda against the IFA sector. This case, like so many others, tells a rather different story.

  12. Why did Gordon Brown insist on creating such a bully? Was it in his own image?

    After all, even the HMRC which is reposnsible for collecting (almost) all taxes (and policing tax evasion) does not have the same draconian powers and does not (usually) behave so appallingly.

    After all, the FSA only has to oversee financial services, surely not nearly as important as HMRC’s responsibility.

    So clearly the balance is completely wrong.

    Let’s hope this government will soon open its eyes and see this appalling monster for what it is. The new version really doesn’t look any different or any better (except for the banks, which is a good move) but a lot more needs to be done.

    Well done the courts for standing up to the FSA and well done John Calland. All strength to you.

  13. A scenario that the FSA badgers a retired IFA to the point that the individual commits suicide through stress, would these bodies also be immune from manslaughter ????

  14. The FSA does not have the support of the financial services industry. I call for a poll to be taken to prove this. Please – one of the financial magazines take up this challenge – organise a poll of readers to see how much support the FSA has in all it’s duties.

  15. could this possibly be the first brick removed from the foundation of the impregnable fsa

    Happy new year

  16. As someone said, he would like to see AIFA help support John in this case. I would rejoin AIFA if they did so, and accept that their diplomacy against this bully can only go so far.

  17. Do NOT hold your breath for a result to this one. The FSA WILL appeal. They will do anything to avoid being subject to proper interrogation of their tactics and practices. There are many many other cases of similarly bullied and abused individuals who do not have the wherewithal to fight the ‘F’ers. (FSA, FOS, FSCS)
    I wish this gentleman success in his campaign – sadly i have little hope for true justice to prevail

  18. Nothing will come of this, as for the call to bring back FIMBRA and LAUTRO these organizations were the seeds of the FSA. GOV.UK. I do not see any changes coming from the Consumer Protection and Markets Authority if the government does the same as Gordon Brown and retain by statute a continuation of immunity from paying damages for new regulator who will more than likely inherit FSA.GOV.UK current rules. License to crucify and persecute was inherited from LAUTRO nothing will change. An online campaign should be started now to stop CP and MA from inheriting the same position.

  19. On an associated topic. Why does nobody question the partiality of Mark Hoban?

    His declaration of MP’s interests shows ongoing donations from Oliver Wyman Management Consultants in return for his advice regarding financial services legislation. Wyman’s list among their main clients Royal Bank of Scotland and Hiscox Insurance Company. This amounts to £150,000 up to March 2010.

    This does not sound very impartial – or could he be providing the same advice free-gratis to AIFA etc???.

  20. The problem with the FSA is a cultural one which I and others on this site have expereinced of threats, rudeness, arrogance and an assumption of guilt. This is how visits and investigations are approached.

    That would be wrong anywhere, including the civil service and police. If we suffer loss as a result of such misbehaviour we are entiled to take our case to court, the FSA are not exempt from being held to account, well said the judge, and shame on the FSA for fighting this.

  21. @Anonymous | 5 Jan 2012 9:12 am

    I know who you are now, that was a cheap shot from behind a convenient hiding place.

    If any of you are wondering what I am rattling on about all you have to do is ask.

  22. Much as it pains me to defend our MP’s
    I think you will find that ‘Hobnob’ did not get £150,000 from Oliver Wyman, His shadow department received services from Wymans to the value of £150k, which I read as Wymans did some work for the Conservatives to that value. I wonder if there is an FSA register of interests though….there’s a thought.

  23. Derek Bradley ceo 5th January 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Evan, who is it?

  24. Evan,

    I do not believe that IFADU or, by implication, you should be taunted from behind a cowardly veil of anonymity.

    You fought a good fight.

    Name him/her.

  25. Good Luck Mr Calland.

    At the very least I hope you provide the regulator with a bloodied nose.

    And that you walk away with an apology and a legally binding undertaking that they will not darken your door again.

  26. It would be interesting to know on just what grounds a clause granting the FSA immunity from prosecution was included in the FSMA 2000. All the evidence points to the fact that the FSA has wilfully abused this immunity and has used it as a licence to act in ways that many people, not least those who’ve suffered as a result, consider to be an affront to any civilised democracy.

    If the TSC has any influence at all in the redrafting of the Act, it should surely be pressing for this clause to be removed. Were there a shred of truth to Hector Sants’ claim to be a strong supporter of accountability (on the part of the FSA), surely he would fully endorse such a move?

  27. man on the moon 6th January 2012 at 3:01 pm

    The so called birthplace of democracy has yet another unaccountable state organisation in situ.

    The regulator can and will do what it wants when it wants.

  28. I am afraid we are now entering (or already entered by default) in an era of Dod Eat Dog situation.

    Unfortunately, the Best Dog wins the day!

  29. @ Evan Owen | 5 Jan 2012 3:57 pm.

    Evan, there are always one or two no-names quick to criticise, many of them spineless apologists for the banks who pull most of the strings.

    As for accountability, it is essential in a mature democracy – this is Britain, not Iraq or Libya. There is no reason strong enough to maintain immunity for this or future regulators and Mr Calland has my support.

  30. If I recall correctly Mr Sants told the Treasury Select Committee that no one would do the job if they were not immune from being responsible for their own mistakes.

    It is a one sided situation if you ask me and I am not sure the law can protect anyone except the FSA so the case would have to be one of the FSA breaching EU or others laws in my view.

    Why anyone or organisation needs to be immune from their own mistakes while making judgements and sentencing others because of theirs just does not seem fair or just to me.

  31. Thank you to those above who support what we’re doing. It really helps.

  32. Well done John, keep fighting and I hope you win the compensation you deserve. I started my insurance career with you and have fond memories of working with you

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