Scottish Equitable has been found to have provided unauthorised investment advice after its representative sat in meetings alongside an IFA who was advising a client.
In a High Court judgment in London on Tuesday, ScotEq was ordered to compensate Michael Walker with a provisional sum of £700,000 for all his losses, both past and future, caused by its advice.
Walker, represented in court by solicitors Mishcon de Reya, had occupied a senior position at Taylor Woodrow. Approaching retirement, he sought advice about how much tax-free cash to take from his pension. Between 1999 and 2001, he attended several meetings with IFA Inter-Alliance and a ScotEq representative, during which he was persuaded to transfer from his occupational pension to a different product, causing considerable losses.
ScotEq denied throughout the proceedings that it had given him any advice and stood firmly behind its representative who had attended the meetings with Walker.
In his judgment, Justice Henderson stated: “I find on the balance of probabilities that, if [the ScotEq representative] had not advised Mr Walker as he did at the two key advisory meetings, Mr Walker would not have come to the decision which he finally reached on February 2, 2001 and would instead have remained a member of the Taylor Woodrow scheme.”
A ScotEq spokesperson says: “ScotEq very much regrets that this situation has arisen and is, in conjunction with counsel, considering the implications of the judgment to assess if there are any matters on which an appeal is appropriate.”