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.”