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FSCS set to pay out without full claims probe

by Sarah Miloudi on Mar 27, 2012 at 12:48

FSCS set to pay out without full claims probe

The Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will be allowed to compensate investors without fully investigating their claims to have lost money.

According to new rules proposed by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the regulator has proposed allowing the FSCS to make payouts to investors without assessing their eligibility, or the amount of their claim, where it was not ‘proportionate’ to assess the case.

The City watchdog said firms paying the levy may feel the new rules ‘unfair’ but argued change was essential to ensure the efficiency of the FSCS.

The relaxed eligibility rules will also mean the directors, managers of failed firms and their close relatives will be entitled to compensation on their investments from the FSCS.   This would not absolve them from any responsibilities in the event of wrong doing, but would simply speed up the claims and compensation process.

The FSA put forward the changes to the rules in an attempt to allow the FSCS more flexibility in quantifying claims following delays in high profile cases like Keydata clients invested in life settlement ‘fund’ Lifemark.

The FSCS will also automatically acquire investors’ right to take legal action against former advisers and product providers, according to the proposed rules.

Higer compensation costs

The FSA warned the new rules could lead to higher compensation costs due to the eligibility for FSCS claims being extended. 

This means that the threshold for the annual levy may be reached sooner than in previous years and leading to more cross subsidy from other levy classes, according to the FSA.

This is only a risk, the FSA added, pointing out that in practice only an extreme case is likely to be a trigger.

‘We do not think that this would occur in practice, except in an extreme case, as since 2008 cross-subsidy has been triggered only once, in 2011,’ the FSA explained.   

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2 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Grant Williamson, G.W. Financial Planning Service

Mar 27, 2012 at 15:30

Just where does this leave our levy payable in the future and why compensate a client simply on their word? Here comes the "ambulance chasers". Just who does represent IFA's and our due diligence via a Fact Find, Attitude to Risk assessment(s) or letter of recommendation/financial review letter?

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Mar 28, 2012 at 09:22

It occurs to me that selection of the right clients will be considered to be all the more important after this. The 'proportionate' test means that anyone submitting a claim below a certain figure will be waved through. It will therefore be a temptation to certain individuals to 'chance' it. The end result is that smaller clients will find it even harder to find someone to take them on, RDR having already made smaller clients less attractive.

Many firms have clauses in agreements that allows them to terminate agreements unilaterally. I can see more of these being exercised, especially for clients who are smaller and who ask questions.

Of course, it begs the question of 'cui bono' (who benefits, for those who don't do Latin). Clearly not smaller clients, nor the industry.

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