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.