A year ago on February 13th 2020, Sajid Javid resigned as Chancellor of the Exchequer, the most powerful financial position in the UK Government.
He claims that his resignation was out of loyalty to his staff. I do not neccessarily believe that the truth is not rather different, and related to that which happened the day before.
In 2019 the FCA and HM Treasury announced that there would be an Independent Investigation into the FCA’s IRHP Review scheme launched in June 2012. It was announced that John Swift QC would lead the investigation.
In an effort to discourage victims of this scheme, the FCA sought to clarify that it was a lessons learned exercise only and would not result in individual cases be reviewed.
I, and others, were determined that the truth, the facts and the evidence of victims would be the judge of that.
I wrote to John Swift QC and introduced myself, summarised my experience and the evidence that I had in my possession. I was invited to meet with Mr Swift’s team on February 12th 2020. Over the course of two hours I walked them through the evidence I had presented to them. This included significant evidence in respect to one particular case that proved the sale of the products was not mis-selling but rather fraud.
However, I also explained the evidence that I had presented to expose something far more sinister; That which proved that the new sophistication criteria introduced into the IRHP Review in January 2013, six months after the review had begun, was not introduced at the behest of the FCA, and not introduced for the reasons the banks, the FSA and HM Treasury had given. Reasons that the FSA/FCA, its executives (including Mr Bailey and Mr Steward), HMT and other senior figures had maintained ever since.
At this point in the story I need to take you back a little. The IRHP review was announced in June 2012 and it was declared that all non-sophisticated or retail customers would be eligible for this free review and redress scheme. It was also announced that a Pilot Study was underway and this would be used as a test of the review process.
The Pilot Study conclusions were published in January 2013.
The FSA used these findings to announce and justify the introduction of a new ‘sophistication’ criteria, Essentially, that all customers that had existing IRHP’s with a total value of more than £10mio would now be classified as ‘sophisticated’ and excluded from the review.
IMPORTANT: This new sophistication criteria, that was now being retrospectively applied, served to exclude 5,309 customers from the IRHP Review. All of whom had always been classified as Retail or non-sophisticated by every applicable measure, and all of whom had been notified at the outset of the IRHP review that they were eligible for this free review and redress scheme.
IMPORTANT: Obviously, the 5,309 customers being excluded, were those with the largest damages, because they were the 5,309 customers with the largest value IRHP’s.
For the record, we believe that the total damages of these 5,309 customers exceeds £15 billion.
The FSA went on to claim that the reason for the introduction of this new criteria was because the Pilot Study found that some cases should not be eligible, specifically where the customer was:
a) A subsidiary of a large group whereby the large group itself was designated as ‘sophisticated’ as per the criteria that existed prior to January 2013. Or,
b) SPV’s that formed part of a larger group, where the large group itself was designated as ’sophisticated’ as per the criteria that existed prior to January 2013.
In 2017, I was introduced by a prominent television journalist to the former owner of a business that was forced into administration by a combination of Lloyds BSU, KPMG (and David Crawshaw specifically) and a Business Turnaround Company by the name of Baronsmead Consulting.
The evidence in this case is substantial thanks to whistleblowers. Evidence that proves fraud, conspiracy to defraud and money laundering by Lloyds Banking Group and to varying extent the ‘partners’ they used in this case.
However, the multiple counts of fraud that were to occur and that would see these highly profitable and successful businesses destroyed, could not have occurred but for the sale of an IRHP (Collar) in 2007 (£20mio notional value), and the subsequent and fraudulent sale of a second IRHP in October 2010 (£40mio notional value). The second IRHP for £40mio was sold by Lloyds by way of leveraging the issues and damages caused by the £20mio Collar sold to the customer in 2007 and, incredibly, sold as a ‘solution’ to those issue and damages. A ‘SOLUTION’ that would see the business suffer a further £3mio in damages.
(I have produced a detailed report on the sale of these IRHP’s and presented to John Swift’s team, and also presented to Adrian White and Lloyds Banking Group as protected disclosures under FCA rules introduced in 2016 forcing banks to treat any person making ‘reportable concerns’ as a whistleblower. I will publish this separately.)
The bank was able to ‘leverage’ the damages caused by the existence of these IRHP’s sold to this customer, and ultimately force their destruction. A customer that had always been classified by the bank as Retail and non-sophisticated, and that the bank wrote to in July 2012 informing them that they were eligible and would be included in the IRHP Review.
They were informed a year later in July 2013 that they had now been excluded from the IRHP review and entirely due to the bank ‘re-classifying’ them as sophisticated and entirely because of the new criteria and the value of their IRHP’s being greater than £10mio.
I had not paid much attention to the IRHP Review prior to being involved in this case, and reviewing the evidence in 2017. Although I was aware that the Lloyds review labelled ‘Project Gresham’ was being undertaken during my employment with Lloyds as a Director. Just another ‘legacy issue’ we were told by Mr Horta Osorio and other executives.
However, upon reviewing the evidence and particularly the exclusion of this business from the IRHP Review, the introduction of this new criteria and the reason given for it, immediately made no sense to me.
I spent the best part of 28 years working in financial markets on the trading floors for many of the world’s largest banks. The ‘Coal Face’ so to speak. Nothing about this criteria and the reasons given for its introduction ‘stacked up’
I wrote this summary:
WHEREAS, it is my position that this is entirely false, and that the true reason for the introduction of this retrospective criteria was to limit the liability of the banks who, by now six months in to the review, had realised that over 95% of these IRHP’s had been mis-sold and their total liability was likely close to £20bio.
Why is this an entirely false reason?
- The criteria introduced, classifying all customers with IRHP’s with a notional value greater than £10mio is irrational and is a needless, ‘blanket’ and crude criteria, that does not efficiently achieve what it purports to achieve.
2. By this I mean that if the banks were able to identify that such customer types existed from their pilot study review on a case by case basis, then it is reasonable to assume that EVERY such case that they claim to have been seeking to exclude, would equally have been identified just from the very review process being undertaken., and on the same case by case basis.
So, why the need to introduce such a needlessly crude criteria, when each such case would have been discovered anyway in the routine process?
3. In addition, when each customer opened their accounts or began their relationship with the bank in question, significant KYC would have been undertaken. This KYC would have revealed if this customer fell in to any of the categories that they claim that the £10mio criteria was introduced for.
4. Furthermore, and IMPORTANTLY, when the bank wanted to sell the customer ANY type of toxic IRHP that was covered by the IRHP review, they MUST have undertaken an in depth credit check on the customer, because the very nature of a toxic IRHP is that it carries significant, but undisclosed, risks to the customer. We can prove with documentation that when banks were carrying out credit checks, it would have discovered and included any associated businesses/subsidiaries/parent companies or related SPV’s. So, again the bank should already have known which of these customers met that criteria and therefore could easily have been excluded on a case by case basis.
5. Returning to the actual review process again, we have internal Lloyds Bank documentation, not in the public domain, and a whistleblower that worked on the IRHP Review for Lloyds. All of which establishes that the depth and detail of the case by case review, would have revealed any customer that fit the criteria for which this £10mio rule was introduced, and on a case by case basis.
6. IMPORTANT: The internal Lloyds documentation represents Lloyds own assessment, opinions and determinations as to that which constituted mis-selling, and that which was to have determined six months in to the review, that over 95% had been mis-sold. This makes it virtually impossible for them to argue against any mis-selling claim brought.
7. Essentially, everything we have and know, demonstrates that this £10mio sophistication criteria did not fit the purpose for which it was claimed it was introduced.
8. What it did do is exclude multiple customers from the IRHP Review, all of them having suffered the largest damages, and which we believe limited the bank’s liability to approximately 15-20% of that which it would otherwise have been.
9. Furthermore, following further investigation, we now have evidence to show that it was Sajid Javid in early 2013, whilst in the role of Economic Secretary to the Treasury, that forced this retrospective criteria through, in the face of much opposition from experts and consumer representatives.
10. Furthermore, we have evidence to prove that the FCA, Andrew Bailey, HM Treasury and now John Glen Economic Minister have lied as to why this criteria was introduced, and who introduced it.
It really is this simple. BUT FOR this retrospectively introduced criteria XXXXXXXXXXX’s business, and many others, would have been included in the IRHP review and would have obtained appropriate redress.
This would have included the ‘tearing up’ of the IRHP, and the reimbursement of all costs paid, and reimbursement of all consequential damages.
For the record, we can show in XXXXXXXXXXXXX’s case that one significant consequential damage of many, was that ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Ltd. only entered BSU in October 2009 because Lloyds falsified a default in its desperation to have ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Ltd. (that did not have a toxic IRHP), to cross guarantee YYYYYYYYYYYYYYY Ltd’s liabilities on a toxic IRHP that they had been sold in 2007.
Lloyds/HBOS had already tried to unfairly impose similar cross guarantee conditions on ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ Ltd when they were seeking to extend a facility between March 2009-September 2009. When that failed to have the business owner agree to that condition, HBOS/Lloyds Banking Group and/or the BSU, simply ‘falsified’ the default, so as to be able to put both businesses in to BSU, where Lloyds believed (wrongly) they could then legitimately co-mingle and cross guarantee the monies and affairs of the two separate businesses.
Participation in the IRHP Review would have prevented ALL of XXXXXXXXXXXXX’s businesses from not only entering administration, but would have removed them all from the BSU, with full repayment of default interest also.
BUT FOR this exclusion from the IRHP Review XXXXXXXXXXXXX would currently have successful and thriving property businesses, with a significant market value.
After my immediate concerns were raised regarding this criteria, I made contact with a few former bank colleagues. The information I was provided suggested that there was ‘collusion’ between the banks and the FCA to limit the liability of the banks from the IRHP Review. A liability that six months into the review, the banks were finding was substantially greater than they had first estimated.
On November 19th 2017, as part of my continued investigation, I wrote to Abishek Sachdev, CEO of Vedanta Hedging.
Sachdev was a former Lloyds Banking Group employee, who had been involved in the sale of these products to customers. I do not know if he raised any concerns, or made protected ‘whistleblower’ disclosures in respect to the sale of these toxic products whilst employed by Lloyds.
Sachdev says that he was later instrumental in concerns being raised to the FCA and involved in the establishment of the FCA’s IRHP Review.
I hope you are well and business is good.
I have a quick question for you. The “notional value of trades being above £10mio” criteria that was used in the IRHP review to exclude customers from it. Where did this come from and how did it become a criteria for this review?
As I understand it, the banks ‘colluded’, for want of a better word, after undertaking some initial reviews of IRHP sales, and went to the FCA as a group, to have the limit introduced.
Sachdev responded on November 20th, writing:
it was put in by Sajid Javid (on behalf of HMT) to reduce the impact / cost of the IRHP Review scheme.
I personally tried to remove this with him and speaking to him, but he actually understood the impact of this and wasn’t going to budge. xxxxxxxxxxxx MP and xxxxxxxxx MP tried too.
The FCA have told me that HMT intervened. When I hosted the below meeting at my office in 2013, the HMT also came with the FCA even though I didn’t invite them!
Further investigations uncovered further corroboration of Sachdev’s statements.
A short time later John Glen MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury and City Minister was to write to myself and a mortgage prisoner victim, claiming that the FCA (and Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)) was independent and that he and HM Treasury had no authority to intervene in the business of either.
This was contrary to the evidence that I had and the written testimony from Sachdev, so I took the opportunity to challenge him on this. On 27th June 2018 I wrote to John Glen MP, copying the Treasury Select Committee, and Andrew Bailey and Sajid Javid personally.
Subject: FOI request and Question as to the ‘Independence’ of HMT
Dear Mr Glen,
You have written to both myself and xxxxxxxx and xxxxxxx this past week, claiming that the FCA and the Financial Ombudsman Service is independent and that the Treasury has no authority to intervene in the business of either.
In light of this, and in the public interest, I would like to both challenge that statement and request information under the Freedom of Information Act in respect to the following matter from both yourself on behalf of the Treasury, and from Mr Bailey (copied) on behalf of the FCA:
1. The FCA announced the IRHP (Interest Rate Hedging Product) review in June 2012.
NOTE: Please note that the banks have changed the narrative so that these are now almost exclusively referred to as ‘Swaps’. This is so as to remove the ‘H’ and mention of ‘Hedging’ from the issue. Most simply were not Hedges and did not fit the universal definition of a Hedge.
2. The review was limited to non/less-sophisticated customers.
3. The official criteria for determining ‘non-sophisticated’ clients was that you must meet two of the following three criteria:
– Less than £6.5mio Turnover
– Less than £3.26mio Balance Sheet
– Less than 50 employees.
4. This was the official criteria and the criteria that must have been applied at point of sale of all IRHP’s. Many businesses did meet the criteria so were classified as ‘non-sophisticated’.
5. All, including clients of ours, were therefore informed that they were part of that IRHP review.
6. The banks involved began their review. Lloyds Bank employed KPMG to conduct their review and KPMG hired multiple ‘Skilled Persons’ to undertake the reviews.
7. A whistleblower that took part in the review at Lloyds Bank has confirmed that almost all of the cases that he, and other Skilled Persons he worked with, reviewed had failed the misselling test, and therefore the customers were due compensation. He estimates a figure of over 95% fail rate.
8. However, in 2013 and almost a year after the IRHP review began, and before any compensation was paid, an additional criteria to determine ‘sophistication’ was restrospectively introduced.
9. This entirely new criteria, never before used, now stated that a business or person did not qualify as non-sophisticated if the aggregate notional value of their IRHP’s exceeded £10mio.
10. Almost a year after being advised that they were part of that review, numerous customers, including client’s of ours, were told that they were now no longer eligible for the review entirely as a result of this new and restrospectively introduced criteria that now saw them classified as ‘sophisticated’.
11. For the record, and avoidance of doubt, it was never a criteria used or considered by the bank or sales person when conducting the sales process of the IRHP’s, and when the criteria is most importantly applied, and therefore inconceivable that the sale of the product should be subject to a criteria only introduced years later.
12. The Treasury recently issued a statement that the RBS GRG Report was not a matter for the Treasury as it did not involve itself in matters subject to ‘the independent FCA’.
13. Further, in January 2016, John Griffith-Jones told the Treasury Select Committee that ‘in his opinion, the Treasury neither interfered with the FCA nor compromised its independence.’
14. However, we have been informed that the decision to introduce this entirely new and retrospective criteria was in fact introduced by Sajid Javid on behalf of HM Treasury and NOT by or on behalf of the FCA.
15. We have further been informed that the purpose was to reduce the impact and liability for the banks resulting from the scheme.
16. Since the impact and liability was borne entirely by the banks involved in the misselling, it is entirely reasonable to believe that this was introduced in the interests of the banks, after they’d conducted numerous reviews and discovered the extent of the wrongdoing and became aware of the possible extent of the liability and compensation that they might be facing.
17. To date the FCA’s IRHP review scheme has paid out over £2.2bio to 13,900 customers. (Average compensation of £158,273)
18. However, clients of ours and over 5,000 other customers were excluded entirely based upon this retrospective criteria. (see FCA web page below for evidence)
19. Given that each of the 5,309 customers that were excluded via this restrospectively applied criteria each had IRHP’s with an aggregate notional value greater than £10mio, (One of our non sophisticated clients, excluded by the new criteria had an IRHP with a notional value of £40mio for example), it is fair to say that the liability for the banks and compensation for the customers would have been a significant multiple of the £2.2bio that has actually been paid out.
20. To put that in to perspective, the IRHP one of our clients was sold had a notional value of 4 times the £10mio limit. If the average award per customer for customers in the review was £158,273, it is reasonable to conclude that this particular customer would have qualified for compensation just for the misselling of this IRHP alone of at least £633,092.
21. This would not include the ‘Mark Up’ or profit that we know the bank made immediately at the point of sale of this product (£670,00). We would have expected this to be in addition to that figure, making a minimum compensation figure of over £1.3mio.
(Please note we were trying to be ‘conservative’ with our figures so as not to be accused of exaggeration, and that the actual figure calculated was much higher and before any consequential damages were calculated)
22. Obviously this would be in addition to any consequential damages that would or might have resulted by this time.
23. Furthermore, this would be in addition to the damages and compensation that they would have qualified for as a result of the sale of further IRHP products in the preceeding years.
23. Had several of our clients, including the one referred to above, been included in the IRHP review therefore and not excluded entirely by way of this retrospectively applied criteria, it is reasonable to conclude that their businesses would not only have survived but thrived, as opposed to becoming victims of Lloyds BSU or RBS GRG.
24. Our question therefore is, can the Treasury and the FCA explain why the Treasury introduced this retrospective criteria in to a scheme operated by the indepedent FCA, and that is responsible for denying over 5,000 non-sophisticated customer any redress?
For the record and avoidance of doubt, we estimate that this intervention by Mr Javid on behalf of the Treasury, saved the banks, and denied customers, approximately £20bio in terms of liability and compensation respectively.
We very much look forward to both your explanation and that of the FCA.
Andrew Bailey, the FCA and Sajid Javid chose not to respond.
However, on July 5th 2018 HM Treasury did respond on behalf of John Glen. Here is the letter sent on his behalf.
HM Treasury and Mr Glen were denying that HM Treasury or any connected party had been involved in the introduction of this sophistication criteria. This was contrary to all of the evidence and the testimony that I had.
This was a disturbing development. This was the first ‘official’ response I’d received in respect to this issue, and it made representations that were less than accurate.
I wrote back to Mr Glen so as to give him the opportunity to amend those representations or clarify them quite specifically.
Dear Mr Glen,
Further to your letter dated today, July 5th, and in respect to the FOI request and explanation in respect to the IRHP review.
Can you please confirm that you are indeed saying that HM Treasury and/or it’s officials, and/or MP’s representing it did not:
a) Intervene or interfere with the IRHP review by way of introducing, suggesting or proposing the new and retrospective ‘sophistication’ criteria
b) Attempt to influence the IRHP review in any way by way of introducing, suggesting or proposing the new and retrospective ‘sophistication’ criteria.
c) Play no part whatsoever in the process by which this retrospective ‘sophistication’ criteria was introduced
I look forward to your clarification.
I presumed that I would receive a vague backtracking response. I was sure that my questions were so specific that they would alert Mr Glen or HM Treasury to the fact that perhaps I must know something or have evidence to prove that which I was asking.
Whereas, on July 31st 2018, I received this formal response on behalf of Mr Glen.
Once again HM Treasury’s response on behalf of Mr Glen was unequivocal and denied any intervention in the IRHP review by HM Treasury or any other party.
I had still not received a response from Mr Bailey, the FCA CEO, and Mr Javid had also declined the opportunity to challenge any of the allegations and facts I’d presented.
I had also been given significant testimony and evidence by one of the ‘Skilled Persons’ hired by KPMG to work on the Lloyds Bank IRHP review, named ‘Project Gresham’.
I had further obtained a copy of a confidential letter produced by Clive Adamson of the FSA in January 2013 and sent to the various banks and stakeholders in the IRHP Review. It included the following statements:
Interest Rate Hedging Products
Thank you for meeting with us today and for the meeting with your team on 18 January 2013 and subsequent dialogue at working level. In addition to meeting with you, we have met with xxxxxxxxxxxxxx, HMT and other stakeholders. We have listened carefully to the concerns raised by you and others, including consumer stakeholders, about the review as originally outlined in June 2012. We have considered, in particular, the issues surfaced through the pilot and our recent discussions and have taken them into consideration in reaching our final position set out below.
Adamson confirms that HM Treasury did participate in the dialogue specific to the IRHP Review and were designated a ‘stakeholder’, and that these discussion did involve ‘issues’ that were said to have surfaced through the pilot. Adamson continues and confirms that one issue discussed by all stakeholders was the sophistication criteria:
Sophisticated Customer Criteria : We recognise the concerns raised about the previously proposed Sophisticated Customer Criteria and, in particular, the concern that certain types of retail customers could be incorrectly categorised as non-sophisticated (e.g. subsidiaries of large groups, SPVs etc) or sophisticated (e.g. farmers and Bed & Breakfasts). We have re-drafted the Sophisticated Customer Criteria to address these concerns.
Adamon’s letter whilst claiming the need to redraft the sophistication criteria, also quite clearly corroborates the FACT that such cases were discovered on a case by case basis by the Pilot Study, and in so doing proves that the very sophistication criteria being introduced was needless, and that therefore the reason being given was a smokescreen.
So, on September 19th 2018, I wrote formally to the FCA FOI team with Mr Bailey and Mark Steward (Head of FCA Enforcement) both personally copied.
After outlining my concerns, but not all of the evidence that I had, I outlined my formal FOI as follows:
My formal Freedom of Information Request
20. Given the above background, can the FCA confirm or deny that the abovementioned criteria for evaluating client sophistication, that saw 5,309 customers now retrospectively classified as ‘sophisticated’ and therefore excluded from the IRHP review and therefore denied access to a free means of resolution and appropriate compensation, was introduced by Her Majestys Treasury (HMT) or persons representing HMT, particularly but not exclusively, Sajid David?
21. Given the above background, can the FCA confirm or deny that HMT or persons representing HMT, including but not exclusively Sajid David, played any part in the introduction of, or suggestion of, or support of the introduction of the abovementioned criteria for evaluating client sophistication, that saw 5,309 customers now retrospectively classified as ‘sophisticated’ and therefore excluded from the IRHP review and therefore denied access to a free means of resolution and appropriate compensation?
22. Given the above background, can the FCA confirm or deny that HMT or persons representing HMT, including but not exclusively Sajid David, played any part or exerted any influence in respect to the introduction of the abovementioned criteria for evaluating client sophistication, that saw 5,309 customers now retrospectively classified as ‘sophisticated’ and therefore excluded from the IRHP review and therefore denied access to a free means of resolution and appropriate compensation?
23. Finally, please provide details of precisely how many of the 5,309 customers that were retrospectively excluded from the IRHP Review as a result of this new criteria, were in fact any of the following:
a) A subsidiary of a large group whereby the large group itself was designated as ‘sophisticated’ as per the criteria that existed prior to January 2013?
b) SPV’s that formed part of a larger group, where the large group itself was desginated as ’sophisticated’ as per the criteria that existed prior to January 2013?
These being the particular client types that it is claimed by the FSA and by HMT, that this new retrospective criteria was introduced so as to exclude from the IRHP review.
For the record and avoidance of doubt:
– so rigorous and thorough was the IRHP review conducted by the banks and skilled persons, that the FCA and/or each bank MUST therefore be able to easily provide this information.
– Furthermore, the FSA report regarding the findings of the Pilot Scheme claims that the review process had been able to identify in each case whether each customer was or was not one of the abovementioned types that the FSA claimed it was seeking to exclude from the IRHP review, and therefore it stands to reason that it was equally easy to identify how many of the 5,309 customers that were retrospectively excluded were one of the above types.
– We know from information provided by the Skilled Person that by the time this new retrospective criteria was introduced, that a substantial number of cases had already been reviewed, so please do not claim that there is no data available because none of the sales to any of these 5,309 customers had been undertaken on account of them being excluded.
24. The report in to the findings of the FSA’s Pilot Scheme states that “We asked each bank to carry out a pilot of a small sample of typically more complex cases before beginning the full review.”
Is it not fair to say that focusing on more complex cases would have skewed any findings in terms of the customer sophistication within the sample?
I.E. The more complex the case, the more likely it was a product sold to a customer meeting the original sophisticated criteria or being a subsidiary or SPV of a larger group or multinational.
I look forward to your response.
On October 17th 2018 I received the FCA’s response. It read:
Question 20: In March 2013, we published the findings of a pilot we had undertaken, which resulted in us making certain changes to the approach we had originally set out in 2012. This included some changes to the ‘sophistication’ test.
The report (https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/archive/fsa-interest-rate-swaps-2013.pdf) makes clear that the changes were in response to the pilot findings, and we can confirm these were not introduced by HMT or persons representing HMT.
Question 21: As above.
Question 22: As above.
Question 23: We regularly collected data from firms to track progress with the review, which we published on our website. The figure quoted of 5,309 customers (as per this update: https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/data/aggregate-progress-final.pdf) is based on firms providing us with the number of customers who had been objectively sophisticated because there was a notional value of over £10m.
However, the data we received for these public updates did not distinguish between:
a) A subsidiary of a large group whereby the large group itself was designated as ‘sophisticated’ as per the criteria that existed prior to January 2013? Or
b) SPV’s that formed part of a larger group, where the large group itself was designated as ’sophisticated’ as per the criteria that existed prior to January 2013?
For this reason, I must advise that we do not hold the information you are seeking.
Question 24: Our view was that reviewing a sample of typically more complex cases would help to identify any issues, to help ensure the review would deliver fair and reasonable outcomes for customers.
Incredibly, the FCA were also unequivocal in their denial that HM Treasury or persons representing HM Treasury were not involved in the introduction of the new and retrospectively applied sophistication criteria.
The FCA response confirms that by focusing on more complex cases in the Pilot Study, it would demonstrate the robustness of the review and it’s ability to ‘identify any issues’, further corroborating that all cases that should be legitimately excluded or included in the IRHP Review, would have been able to have been identified on a case by base basis.
However, perhaps more disturbing and corroborative of the testimony and evidence that I had, the FCA said they had no idea how many of the 5,309 cases excluded under the new criteria actually fell into either of the two categories that they claimed the new £10mio criteria was introduced so as to exclude!
How is this possible? The FCA introduce a brand new criteria that retrospectively excludes 5,309 customers, denying them free review and remedy of in excess of £15bio, supposedly as a result of these Pilot Study findings, and they have no idea how many excluded customers fell in to the two categories this criteria was supposedly introduced to exclude?
The FCA is claiming that they relied upon the information given them by the banks and without requesting any data whatsoever, and without conducting any due diligence or assessment of this information?
It is so inconceivable that the position can only be entirely false, and further supports and demonstrates that this could NOT have been the true reason, and that these false representations herein were made to further conceal what the FCA knew the true reason for the introduction to be. Namely, that it was forced in by Sajid Javid representing HM Treasury, and so as to limit the liability of the banks.
It further confirms that the FCA allowed the banks and the banks alone to determine all of the 5,309 customers that would be excluded from the IRHP review entirely on this new criteria having been “objectively sophisticated because there was a notional value of over £10mio”
I replied to the FCA and sought to simplify the FOI request in respect to the Pilot Study findings:
Can you please advise, under same FOI request, how many cases in the Pilot study met the criteria that you cite as the reason for introducing the retrospective ‘sophistication’ criteria.
By this I mean, how many cases, in the whole Pilot study, met those criteria 23 a) and 23 b)
Can you please also clarify:
1. How many cases were in the whole Pilot study?
2. Who ‘selected’ the cases to be included in the Pilot study? The banks or the FCA?
I look forward to your response.
The FCA replied to say that they did not have to provide a response because they had determined that to do so would require more than the maximum 18 hours they were obliged to spend providing response to such FOI’s.
This was concerning to say the least. My request could not have been simpler. Yet, once again the FCA claimed that they did not have to respond because in their opinion to do so would take more than 18 hours.
How is that possible? This is basic data, and would feature in any summary or statistics that the FCA must have on file specific to the Pilot Study.
IF that is (and it is a very big ‘IF’) it were the true reason for the introduction of this new criteria.
I challenged this finding and made the specific allegations as to this demonstrating that the reasons put forward for the introduction of the criteria were indeed false.
Perversely the FCA took 3 months to investigate and review my challenge to their determination that it would take more than 18 hours to provide a response. Go figure.
When the response did finally come, it maintained the FCA’s position that it would not respond because it would take more than 18 hours to determine the answers, but did seek to explain why.
Once again, this response proves that the FCA had neither requested from, or been provided by, the banks any information or data relevant to the cases the banks had assessed in the Pilot Study.
The FCA claims that they were “aware that there was material enough sample of customers”, but had no facts or data whatsoever.
They make it clear that the banks chose their own 40 cases to review for the study, that the skilled persons for the banks undertook the study, and then the banks provided information to the FCA regarding their findings.
And the FCA simply relied upon the word of the banks without any supporting data or evidence whatsoever.
I am sorry but this does not add up. It is so inconceivable that it must be false, and only corroborates the testimony from witnesses , and evidence that I have from multiple sources that proves that the sophistication criteria was introduced by Sajid Javid acting on behalf of HM Treasury, and with intent to limit the liability of the banks who by this time had discovered the true extent of the mis-selling and/or fraudulent selling of these IRHP’s.
However, let’s be very clear, even without the testimony and the evidence that I have, and this nonsense from the FCA, the introduction of the criteria could never have been for the reasons given because:
- The banks would already have on their records and files from the KYC, due diligence and credit assessments they had already undertaken on EVERY customer and EVERY IRHP sale, whether or not the customer fell in to either of those two categories. AND,
- The very process of review would have identified ALL such customers on a case by case basis, and eliminated them on a case by case basis, without the need for such a criteria. INDEED, The very claim that the Pilot Study identified such cases on a case by case basis proves this.
I presented all of this evidence and more to John Swift QC’s team and spent two hours explaining it and the significance to them on February 12th 2020, and answering all of their questions in respect to it.
On February 13th 2020 Sajid Javid resigned as Chancellor.
I am confident that John Swift’s investigation findings will be honest and will force the banks and FCA to ‘reinstate’ these 5,309 customers and finally provide them with the review, justice and remedy they were unlawfully denied.
Was Mr Bailey, CEO of the FCA, and regulator that oversaw the IRHP Review, not aware of the truth and facts and not aware that false representations were being made by the FCA in respect to it?
Likewise, was John Glen also not aware of the truth and facts and not aware that false representations were being made by the FCA in respect to it?