28 February 2014
Slater and Gordon Secure £16m Damages for Clients Mis-sold Interest Rate Swaps
Slater and Gordon Lawyers announced today that the law firm has secured over £16m damages for victims of swap mis-selling.
The firm is representing more than 300 small business owners who were mis-sold IRSAs, a financial hedging product.
Slater and Gordon have so far received 53 offers of damages as part of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) review into these products amounting to a total of £16,698,263
On average, Slater and Gordon secured £315,061 for their clients, compared to an FCA review average of £150,000
The banks involved, including HSBC, Barclays, RBS, Natwest, and Lloyds accepted they had mis-sold financial products. These hedging products placed terrible strain on clients’ businesses and included massive costs to exit the agreements, which were not disclosed to clients at the time of sale.
Greg Vinyard, owner of Barrell Resolve, a document management company based in Saffron Walden in Essex, was mis-sold a 25-year swap by Barclays in 2006.
Barclays has recently agreed to a full tear-up and £219,000 in damages through the FCA review process.
Greg Vinyard, who runs his business with his wife Deborah, said: “After so many years of fighting for justice, it’s a great relief to finally have this swap torn up and the bank acknowledge it acted outside the law.
“This whole episode put my business and family under extreme pressure. We are a small business and look forward to reinvesting the damages into our business and concentrating on what we do best, rather than continuously fighting the banks.
“Despite the extreme financial pressure my wife and I were under as a result of the swap, we never missed a repayment.
“But the strain has been intense and affected my health. My doctor officially diagnosed me with stress in April 2013 and I had what was probably a stress-related heart attack in June last year.”
Mr Vinyard, a member of the Bully Banks campaigning organisation, said his lawyers had been instrumental in helping him through the claim process.
“They say the FCA review system is supposed to be user friendly, but there is no way I could have written the submissions that my lawyers put together.”
It is estimated that more than 40,000 IRSAs were sold to small and medium sized businesses and the Financial Conduct Authority has claimed that more than 90 per cent of these sales did not comply with regulatory requirements.
Companies have seen the value of the products fall and are now in the position of owing banks huge sums of money in interest payments.
“We have a significant number of clients who have come forward having suffered very severely as a result of bad bank practices.
“At a time when small businesses need support through difficult financial times, it’s unacceptable that so many of them are still suffering because of their mistreatment by the very banks that were meant to be helping them.
“As a law firm, Slater and Gordon represent more than 300 victims of swap mis-selling. Claiming damages through the FSA review can still be a complex process so we are proud to have helped our clients secure, on average, more than double the FSA average damages award.
“Today’s news is welcome for the 51 small businesses that have now had their claims addressed in this important stage of the FCA review process. But we continue to fight for the hundreds of people who are still waiting to hear back from their banks.
“This is a great result for Mr Vinyard and his business, but just an example of the many battles we are fighting on behalf of our clients right now.”