The Lautro 12
The recently published shameful case of the so called "Lautro 12", appears to be causing more than a few ripples in the financial services industry.
It seems that the knock on effect of the "Lautro 12" is that many Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) may have paid out too much compensation for mortgage endowment complaints.
Needless to say, if this were to be the case, they may themselves be entitled to financial compensation from the endowment providers.
The Lautro 12 were found to have mispriced Lautro premiums, which lead them to give their hapless customers unrealistically high maturity figures between 1988 and 1994.
Other providers have also mispriced projections but, unlike the 12, have not necessarily paid any consumer redress.
OAC Actuaries and Consultants chief executive, Roger Grenville-Jones, said:
"Where compensation for misselling has been paid, the amount of compensation is automatically increased to adjust for the policy being too small, at the expense of the firm paying the compensation, but only up to the present time."
Whilst the extra sums that advisers have had to pay out due to mispricing by providers is difficult to estimate, it is estimated that approximately £83M has been paid out in compensation for endowment misselling.
Compliance expert Adam Samuel said:
"Under-pricing will have reduced surrender values which are deducted from the amount required to repay the loan and other extra costs to produce the compensation amount.
If the insurers had set the premiums correctly, the surrender value would be higher and this would have brought down the compensation."
Shakespeare Putsman LLP partner Gareth Fatchett said:
"We have had a positive opinion from specialist counsel about taking action on behalf of advisers. It is arguable that redress by IFAs could be reclaimed against providers who are shown to have used incorrect charging assumptions. Potentially, this creates a whole raft of claims from IFA firms who have paid redress needlessly."
IFA Defence Union chairman Evan Owen sums this disgraceful farce very neatly:
"IFAs should not have had to waste time defending complaints, paying case fees triggered by false shortfalls and forking out compensation that others were responsible for. The providers must be held to account."
As this site has noted many times, the failure of these useless policies is down to their bad design; ie they were not fit for purpose. On that basis alone, it is most assuredly the endowment providers' responsibility to clear this mess up.
As I have noted many times before, were they to agree to underwrite these failed products that they foisted on an unsuspecting generation of house buyers, much of the distress being endured by their hapless customers and IFAs (unfairly caught in the middle) could have been avoided.
Anyone care to take any bets as to whether the endowment providers will "step up to the plate" and admit their responsibility?