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Human rights chief asks Myners why IFAs don’t have long stop

Joint committee on human rights chairman Andrew Dismore has written to City minister Lord Myners demanding to know why the FSA will not introduce a 15-year long stop for advisers.

In a letter seen by Money Marketing, the committee chairman and Labour MP for Hendon also calls for Myners to disclose whether any schemes other than the Financial Ombudsman Service lack a long stop and, if so, which ones. If there is none, he calls for a justification of why financial advisers are treated differently from other professions.

Dismore says human rights law does not prescribe the detail of time limit regimes but the European Court of Human Rights has acknowledged that limitation periods “serve important purposes”.

The letter says: “My committee has been told that financial advisers are the only occupational group to be denied the protection of a 15-year long stop. The right not to be discriminated against in the enjoyment of the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions is therefore potentially engaged by the FSA’s current rules.”

Dismore has given Myners until June 4 to reply.

Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey, who wrote to the joint committee calling for an investigation of the issue in December, says: “It is reasonable and fair to ensure that one relatively small section of society does not have to endure a substantial loss of rights which are enjoyed by every other inhabitant of the UK.

“It is gratifying that the committee is bringing a focus on the FSA’s stance that advisers do not deserve this basic human right.”

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Comments

There are 10 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Julian Stevens 28th May 2009 at 11:39 am

    Human rights chief asks Myners why IFAs don’t have long stop
    Given that most of the present crises in the banking and mortgage markets are largely attributable to virtually non-existent regulation of those sectors whilst John Tiner was CE of the FSA, why is no one making any effort to call him to account?

  2. Human rights chief asks Myners why IFAs don’t have long stop
    I am thankful the Human Rights Joint Committee for raising this issue of no long stop for IFAs. Firstly there is no valid reason why IFAs should be singled out for for this treatment, which is completely contrary to our human rights.

    Secondly, if the matter is left as it stands, retired IFAs in their 70s and 80s could potentially be suddenly expected to deal with a claim, which again is preposterous and contrary to their human rights.

  3. Human rights chief asks Myners why IFAs don’t have long stop
    Well done Alan Lakey. This is such a contentious issue, particularly for retired as well as active small IFA firms who are not incorporated. They are suffering great financial hardship because they are unable in many cases to defend themselves against often dubious, opportunist claims going back 20 years or more where little and often no evidence is available to either defend or support such claims. Political influence and court intervention are the only ways to deal with this unfairness. Given that regulation is based upon principles- TCF, fair and reasonable etc, it seems a contradiction that these principles apply one way only.

    At PanaceaIFA.com (the community for small, directly regulated IFA firms) with the encouragement and support from our members, we are speaking to others with political influence and this article shows that a groundswell of opinion and lobbying can really focus attention.

    Keep up the pressure Alan.

  4. Abuse me and I’ll abuse you
    As I have said elswhere, I have had NO complaints go to the FOS. However it is worth bearing in mind for those of use who are law abiding in normal circumstances, if the only defence from someone who is trying to abuse you and your famiulies human rights is to abuse the perpetrators, whilst two wrongs may NOT make a right, the continued unwillingness of the F-pack to address the Longstop means that one may have to choose whetehr the principle of self defence has to override matters.

  5. Parliament knew about it all along
    The Long Stop was brought in by the Latent Damage Act 1986 and passed through Parliament at the same time as the Financial Services Act 1986.

    They are both referred to in the Queen’s Speech that year – so Parliament must have known about it at the time. Therefore the FSA seems to be retrospectively overturning the intention of Parliament at the time.

    And what is a retired IFA to do? The Data Protection Act says they cannot hold personal data no longer required and the FSA still says sales records are only required for six years – so it appears to be illegal for them to hold the records they might need to defend themselves.

  6. Ombudsman Fees
    I am have been an IFA for 25 years and I still receive endowment complaints for business written over 15 years ago via ‘ambulance chasing’ companies. Regardless of the fact they have no chance of the claim being upheld after my initial report, all complaints are referred to the FOS. I have found the FOS to be fair in their adjudication and 95% have gone in my favour. Why then do I have to pay the FOS a case fee when innocent of any wrongdoing? What happened to my human rights?

  7. Human Rights – not
    I’m afraid that this is another red herring story of which there have been a number in this area. IFAs may justifiably complain about the failure to impose any backstop about complaints. That is an argument about fairness between firms and complainants that should be pursued in those terms.

    What is wrong is to consider this to be a human rights matter. It is not. The case always relied upon is a decision that imposing a time-bar is not a breach of the complainant’s human rights. This is nothing to do with whether it a breach of human rights not to impose a time-bar.

    I’ve checked the joint committee website and can find no trace of it actually investigating this issue.

    Human rights are about preventing torture and genocide. They are not except in very extreme circumstances about civil procedure. By invoking a subject that is far more important when discussing time-bars, IFAs are preventing the real arguments on the subject that concerns them from being discussed on their merits. That is frankly the only way in which firms will achieve their objectives in this area not through bogus stories about human rights.

  8. Human rights – Yes
    We can’t expect any other conclusion from Adam Samuel, he is in a fortunate position in that he isn’t being tried for his acts whilst he was an Ombudsman two decades later by someone who knows very little about anything in particular using a computer template to write letters and declaring ‘I can do what I like’. This is all about discrimination by occupation and unless you know what the letters contain you should not assume that this is bogus simply because you cannot find something on a website, another case of foot in mouth disease?

  9. Human Rights
    It may have been the intention of the original Human Rights campaigners to focus on torture and genocide but matters have evolved.

    In recent years we have seen sex-offenders using their human rights as a successful means of being deported. Police failing to issue phots of escaped murderers in case their human rights were somehoow breached. I could continue but for the sake of brevity will leave it there.

    Adam, I know of many retired IFA’s who consider that they are being tortured by the FOS which insists on investigating claims for business written 20 years earlier.

    Whether the issue is ‘human rights’ or simply fair play it is abundantly clear that the current situation cannot be allowed to continue.

  10. HUMAN RIGHTS – ARE IFAS NOT HUMAN? YES! ARE THEIR RIGHTS UNDERMINED? YES. ERGO, THE MATTER IS MOST DEFINITIVELY ABOUT BREACHES OF HUMAN RIGHTS!
    Good morning gentlemen. http://www.directgov.uk states: ‘The Human Rights Act 1998 [protects fundamental] rights [which] impact matters of life and death, [but] also rights in your everyday life: your right to a fair trial and other basic entitlements.’ With respect, Mr Samuel, the Act is intended to protect ‘all’ freedoms. I strongly believe that a breach of any such right demands attention, and whilst the right to life is arguably the most fundamental, the impact of FOS/FSA on a select, but unfortunate, slice of society, not only must be the focus of our attention, but it DESERVES such attention. Surely, you must agree that the measure of the damage caused by the breach of a right – whether a basic or fundamental right – must be the yardstick used to assess the importance of the right in question, and the attention it warrants? Therefore, given that I have clients who have lost their homes, livelihoods and – in some cases – their lives – it is clear that the breach of THESE basic rights demands just as much attention as those of the other disadvantaged groups you referred to, simply because the impact of the breach of these (arguably) less fundamental rights is having such a devastating effect on a segment of society. The thematic pension review at present is a perfect example of arguably breaching an individual’s right to a fair trial, because the imposition of liability using the ‘suitability’ yardstick by the FSA on firms, for business written – about which they can do nothing – represents automatic liability without any hearing, without any consumer complaint and, as such, represents an unconstitutional punishment for something that was not a crime when it was done. Your thoughts gentlemen?

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