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Injustice stole my retirement and ruined my son’s life

THE EDITOR’S COMMENT OF THE WEEK

Thank you for publishing details in this issue of my dispute with the FSA and its agents.

In 1997, when my son bought my practice, we agreed that both legal and regulatory liability would be transferred. I had reviewed every pension client and found all transactions to be compliant and my son was happy to accept liability.

I later learned that legal liability could not be transferred without our clients’ agreement but that in itself could not justify enforcement action against me.

The PIA’s error letter of 1998, stating that the firm had lost its authority to arrange pensions and that investors might have been missold, undermined my son and was a defining factor in his bankruptcy in 2000.

Soon after his bankruptcy, our daughter-in-law left with their three children, then their house went. We were constantly worried about our son’s state of mind and the welfare of the children.

Retrieving files and records was not on my mind, but even so I doubt the receiver would have granted me access to them.

In 2002/03, the FSA repeatedly mailed the firm’s pension clients urging them to have their pension arrangements “checked”, with overtures of potential compensation. It did not occur to me then that the FSA was soliciting claims against me – I had sold the practice and transferred liability five years previously.

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme applied considerable pressure on me to declare my financial situation and my wife and I became worn down with stress. However, our move to Spain helped us recuperate and has helped us to cope with what is now 10 years of unwarranted harassment from all three agencies.

I did not secure proof of the covert enforcement action against me until 2007 and only then realised that the investigation of my firm’s compliance had never been intended and my two to three years of work on the pension review had been for nothing.

I complained to all three agencies. FSCS and Financial Ombudsman Service investigators largely upheld my complaints but the FSA’s investigator was unhelpful and unaccountable, leaving me no alternative but legal action.

The FSA has applied to the court for strike-out, which I regard as a further attempt to avoid accountability.

For six years, the FOS has harassed me about pension cases. The four investors concerned all withheld relevant evidence or deliberately misled the FOS. The FOS process has shamefully failed to exercise impartiality, or its independence of the FSA.

I am now 72 and the past 10 years of injustice have stolen the retirement of myself and my wife but my most heartfelt regret is the careless ruination of my son’s business and the disintegration of his life and family, which has left scars on all of us.

John Calland

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Comments

There are 8 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Any fans of the current regulatory system out there who may care to articulate any sort of defence of the FSA, the FOS and the FSCS?

  2. Beyond belief

  3. Can you imagine the GMC or SRA contacting patients or solicitors clients to say they may have received incorrect medical treatment or legal advice and that they should make a complaint?

    No neither can I – scandalous.

  4. If this case does nothing else it should ram home the following message. If you do not trade as a ltd company you are asking for a lifetime (literally) of potential pain.

    This is particularly true for those moving from networks to DA. A “new-co” has no history and offers the ability to access cheap PI, a tax efficient and lean vehicle for business sale, and the ability to trade with no legacy issues.

  5. A phrase that encapsulates rather neatly the FSA’s approach to its “thematic reviews” might well be zealous vindictiveness.

  6. Could Money Marketing ask the FSA and FSCS to comment on this?

  7. To John – we wish you all the best at this difficult time – well done for going public and please pass on our best wishes to your son and his family. I am sure the original pensions business was done in good faith, so to be hounded like this is dreadful. There are others out there in a similar position so you are not alone.

  8. Tom Kean is correct John
    You are not alone and we are all rooting for you.
    It is time these Stalinist bureaucrats are brought to heel. How dare they seek to ruin the retirement and family life of someone who, in their own words has done nothing wrong?
    Nothing can make up for what you have suffered but you are right to call them to account.
    How can any right minded person believe a “strike out is appropriate in this case?
    Best Regards to you, your wife & son.
    I will most definitely be praying for you all on the 26th

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