Tag archives for Offshore Money Managers

Case Against Landsbanki: Fuengirola Court confirms that Equity Release Lenders Can Never Be “Just the Lender” and Nullifies a Mortgage Loan

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ERVA has had access to a Fuengirola Court ruling won against Landsbanki Luxembourg.

In the case, the Judge states that it is not conceivable that Landsbanki Luxembourg would argue successfully that “they were only the lenders” when borrowers were made to sign disclaimers, pledge agreements were put in place and statements made in respect to the uncertain performance of the underlying investments with Lex Life.

Additionally, the presiding Judge states that he did not need to read the Tax Office binding decision -ruling out the possibility of obtaining any IHT benefits- to infer that such a possibility is manifestly incorrect and against logic/common sense and therefore, misleading.

The sentencing Judge classes OMM -Offshore Money Managers- as deliberately intent on defrauding, at worst, and negligent at best (Colin “McGreedy”)¬†for issuing advertising promising any IHT benefits, stating that it is admitted that this company was the agent of Landsbanki.

Meanwhile, desperately rapacious¬†psychopath (i.e. person devoid of empathy and remorse) Yvette Hamilius continues to ignore any sign that her employers could have made mistakes with the marketing of the “Equity Release” and relentlessly continues in her quest to grab pensioner’s properties.

This ruling sets an interesting precedent in respect to Rothschild’s much-vaunted allegation that they “were only the lenders”, when the loan was inextricably linked to investment portfolio via the pledge agreement and Rothschild did have, no matter what David de Rothschild and Eamon Bermigham say, a vetting procedure for prospective investments vehicles.

Landsbanki Misleading Advertising Case Due to be Filed

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Lawyers acting for Landsbanki victims are due to file a misleading publicity case against Landsbanki Luxembourg S.A., Lex Life and Pensions S.A. and Offshore Money Managers Correduría de Seguros S.L.

The case is based on the extensive fraudulent publicity that all three entities issued when offering the product known as ‘SITRA’ (Spanish Inheritance Tax Reduction Scheme), ‘Capital Insurance’ or ‘Equity Release‘.

According to the documentation that lawyers hold, the following has been established:

  • The product was devised as a means to reduce, or eliminate completetely, Spanish IHT. We now know this is not only untrue, as it proposes customers to defraud the Spanish Tax Office.
  • The product was also designed to potentially produce an income, it being the difference between the return on the invested asset, minus charges and expenses, and the cost of servicing the loan. This was just one possibility, the other more likely one being total loss.
  • The advertising stresses prominently the benefits of the product but omits the risks involved -or if at all features these in small print- namely the loss of the property and further.¬†

Landsbanki was extremely successful in attracting new customers by using its main feature: reduction of Spanish Inheritance Tax. Lex Life & Pensions did too.

And Lex Life & Pensions used the name top Spanish firm Cuatrecasas to push sales, by admitting the following:

this product has been ellaborated in conjunction with top law firm Cuatrecasas

Lawyers are awaiting a formal response to a letter sent to Cuatrecasas but we can anticipate the response: “we deny any involvement and do not want to know anything about this product”

The case is to be filed with Courts in Malaga and will focus on the defendants’ advertising.

As for the role of OMM, its responsibility is two-fold:

  • Active participation in the promotion and marketing of the product, generously remunerated with an introduction commission and further, by receiving regular trail commissions (as is the case with Jyske bank too).
  • Attribution of joint responsibility to any media outlet used to promote and market a particular product or service¬†(rulings by Madrid Appeal Court rulings 17/6/2008 and 30/9/2009).

A case for misleading publicity narrows down the scope of the dispute as it confines the Judge to rule on whether the advertising is/isn’t misleading, without giving any room for further interpretation (i.e. namely misselling: whether customers could and should have sought further advice, whether they were savvy investors or suitable for the product, whether it was a high risk speculative product known to the public etc.).

OMM has declined to come forward to assist claimants, ignoring letters from lawyers inviting them to participate in this case as witnesses, and yet their fraudulent advertising is still today available to the public.

According to the CNMV, Offshore Money Managers is a Cowboy Operation

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OMM, or Offshore Money Managers, has been living very well for far too long on the back of a lie: that it is registered to conduct investment business.

But they are not, and dishonest Mr. Colin McCready knows it far too well in spite of which he has managed to get away with his insurance broker “DGT license” -which he is fully credited with having allowing him to sell car/house/life insurance policies- to conduct investment business, which he holds no license for.

That said, Mr. McCready has also been an exceptionally efficient tax-evading Equity Release travelling salesman (Jyske Bank, Landsbanki…), and that has placed him in the spotlight. Unfortunately for him, he has left a trail of incriminating obnoxious publicity that is causing anguish to countless pensioners.

According to the law under which he is regulated, the following needs to be observed:

Insurance brokers will provide truthful and sufficient information in the promotion, offer and subscription of insurance contracts and, in general, in all its advisory activities.

In the next posts we will publish part of Offshore Money Managers publicity to see if it at all, it does in fact comply with the above.

 

Landsbanki Wins Spanish Court Case: A Useful Defeat

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It has been discovered, with some distress we may add, that the much flaunted Court victory of a Landsbanki victim in 2011 had more to it than met the eye for, whilst the victim won a ruling in the First Instance declaring the mortgage loan and the investment contract void, the ruling was subsequently revoked entirely, on appeal, by the M√°laga Appeal Court (ruling dated 18th February 2013).

In principle, not good news for pessimists but being practical, one can extract in interesting conclusions on how should a new claim be filed, what laws be invoked, the extreme importance of supporting evidence or even, the situation with Landsbanki’s bankruptcy. Below is a very sketchy summary of the case (a more comprehensive resume will follow):

 

– ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†OMM was sued together with Landsbanki, but Lef Life was left out (even if their contract was attacked by the claimant’s legal representation).¬†

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The claim was based heavily on mis-selling within a financial investment contract, as opposed to an Equity Release contract or even a mortgage loan but then, the party to the financial product -a Unit Linked Life Insurance Policy- was not sued jointly.¬†

Р         Mentions were made to IHT benefits but apparently so, no evidence that this constituted fraud or, at the very least, not proven. The Court of Appeal in fact admits that the substance or essence of the contract is actually Tax Mitigation, and that there is no error there (!!!). More so, the Appeal Court does even go to name product, Spanish Inheritance Tax Reduction Arrangement (SITRA).

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The claim confused the mortgage loan contract with the investment portfolio contract, and it was not proven they were one single overall agreement with several contracts in it: the Malaga Appeal Court outlined this.

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The claim invoked the 47/2007 Securities Markets Act when it was not applicable at the time of the claimants signing their ER contract.

–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The Appeal Court noted that there was a general lack of evidence in support of the claim, in particular to do with failing to prove that either defendant guaranteed the improbable fact that the investment yield would suffice to cover the mortgage repayments as well as,¬†

On a side note, we must add that OMM came out victorious for 2 reasons: a) they were deemed as business introducers, nothing more and b) even if they were selling financial products, the Court found that life insurance unit-linked contracts were within their remit, considering they did have an insurance brokerage license.

The upside is that the Court of First Instance did find both defendants guilty of mis-selling which should make Landsbanki wonder what would happen if, for instance, a new claim was filed against them addressing all the above shortcomings/incorrections, as they were highlighted by the Appeal Court, in particular the position of the Spanish Tax Office.

In our opinion, the case should be revisited and the Court of Appeal shown that they have just endorsed, unknowingly, a tax evasion product…

 

Rothschild: we never provided financial advice

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One of the many excuses Rothschild put forward to excuse themselves of any wrongoing (and they have a case ready of excuses, just in case!) was that, when shamefully selling the nefarious CreditSelect loan (the mortgage loan which should not be seen as one thanks to “Rothschild conservative approach”), they never provided financial advice.¬†

The reality is different: Rothschild not only provided tons of financial advice (abundancy of literature proves this), they actually selected the funds where the monies were to be invested in and there was no compromising in this.

For the pensioners, there was no reason to distrust their set up, as they put it:

Thanks to Rothschild’s conservative approach, clients will not be exposed to unnecesary risks

Mike Atherton has a very interesting column in the Money Section of The Times and very much line with the above, wrote an article yesterday (2/2/2013) titled When advice is not advice.

 

One of my Times Money colleagues recently sat in on a consultation her mother had with a mortgage expert. Strictly speaking, the expert was not offering advice but ‚Äúinformation‚ÄĚ about mortgages. However, as the conversation ranged over different mortgage products and her mother‚Äôs available options, my colleague could not help feeling that, whatever the official label, this felt more like advice than simple information.

 

This blurring of the distinction between information and advice is not confined to the mortgage market. The entire financial services industry is full of grey areas where consumers may think they are receiving one thing, when in fact what they are officially being given is something rather different.

 

The problem is especially acute in the investment world. Over the past 20 years a range of execution-only intermediaries, including discount brokers and investment platforms, has sprung up to offer investors a vast amount of information and research, but not advice.

 

They are competing for business with financial advisers, who, as the name implies, do give advice, as well as offering access to research and financial data.

 

So you have advisers on the one hand and intermediaries on the other, both helping investors with their investment choices and both offering them the benefits of their research and analysis. Investors could be forgiven for failing to spot the difference.

 

But the distinction is important because investors should be crystal clear about whether they are receiving financial advice or not. If they mistakenly think they are, they could be lulled into a false sense of security about the appropriateness of the product they are buying.

 

Some financial advisers suspect that their execution-only only rivals have not exactly been unhappy about the blurring of distinctions. The more cynical point to the many cases where intermediaries have drawn up lists of their preferred funds, or produced glossy booklets highlighting a small number of carefully selected funds, while making no mention of the rest.

 

What, the cynics ask, does this represent, if not a recommendation to buy certain funds and ignore others? The intermediaries would respond that they always issue a clear disclaimer that none of the information they provide should be construed as amounting to a recommendation or advice. But the cynics say that if it looks like advice, sounds like advice and feels like advice, investors are going to consider that it is advice.

Does anyone still believe today that Rothschild did not provided financial advice?

How much longer can they persist in pursuing this grand larceny?

 

Offshore Money Managers and Jyske Bank

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Colin McCready, Equity Release travelling salesman and author of the scaremongering piece, was adamant of the risks of not taking up the

Jyske Bank Gibraltar¬†product and set out to help his clients avoid the horrors of Spain’s tax system.

It is interesting to note that the most of those involved, save for one or two, will always resort to the fallacious¬†“risks were fully disclosed“. Yes, they were obviously disclosed, as one can read on the attached document…

You just cannot find an ounce of honour, loyalty or pride in these cowboys.

 

 

 

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