This blog gives you the latest topical news plus some informal comments on them from ShareSoc’s directors and other contributors. These are the personal comments of the authors and not necessarily the considered views of ShareSoc. The writers may hold shares in the companies mentioned. You can add your own comments on the blog posts, but note that ShareSoc reserves the right to remove or edit comments where they are inappropriate or defamatory.

Law suits – Quindell, Lloyds, RBS and SIPPs

Feel misled by the Quindell board and its advisors? Then there is a new legal action being formulated by Liverpool legal firm “Your Legal Friend”. They already claim to have 250 investors interested in pursuing a claim on the basis that statements issued by the board and its advisors show that insufficient care had been taken in relation to the duty of care owed to investors.  At least that’s a brief summary of the allegations – see their web site for more information if you have an interest in this matter.

Lloyds Banking Group have issued a defense to the legal claim from Harcus Sinclair on behalf of LloydsTSB shareholders who suffered as a result of the takeover of HBOS. Among their defenses is that Lloyds had no obligation to reveal a £10bn loan facility given to HBOS and other support to HBOS from the Bank of England in the prospectus. We will no doubt see in due course whether their defense stands up to scrutiny. It might be at least a couple of years before this case gets into court. Astonishingly the FCA’s report into the failure of HBOS has yet to be published, but it is now hoped it will come out in early 2015. Why the delay one might ask?

Meanwhile the similar legal action against Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) might apparently get into court by the end of 2016 it seems, although the lawyers for RBS wanted a later date.

Three men were jailed recently at Southwark Crown Court over the sale of dubious investment products to clients investing via SIPPs. These were based on biofuel plantations in Cambodia. To quote the SFO: ” These investors were deliberately misled into believing that SAE owned land in Cambodia; that the land was planted with Jatropha trees, and that there was an insurance policy in place to protect investors if the crops failed“. Comment: one of the big risks with SIPPs is that you can put a wide range of investments into them so they can be a target for unscrupulous promoters of dubious businesses of all kinds. As a result people can lose their life savings  when pensions should surely be invested conservatively in a diversified range of liquid holdings. More such scandals will no doubt appear unless the Government moves to tighten regulations on SIPPs.

Roger Lawson

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