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If you were one of the 8.5 million people who were sold an Endowment Mortgage you may be entitled to claim for compensation. It is predicted that 8 out of 10 endowment policies are unlikely to pay off the mortgages they were taken out to cover. Even if your policy has been sold, replaced or surrendered you still could be eligible to make a claim.
This subject was covered by the BBC on 4th Jan 2013: View article
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An Endowment Mortgage is actually a misnomer. If you bought one – and 8.5 million people did* – you actually acquired an interest-only mortgage and a ‘with-profits’ or ‘unit-linked’ investment. You were probably told at the time that the Endowment Policy would eventually not only pay off the mortgage at the end of its term, but also provide an additional lump sum.
Unfortunately millions of customers have ended up with an Endowment shortfall. Not only was the promise of a lump sum broken but also, more critically, the endowment return wasn’t enough to pay off the mortgage it was intended for.
To quote Martin Lewis: ‘Endowments paid large commissions to advisers. They weren’t transparent. Worse still, to make them look cheaper than repayment mortgages, the payment amounts were often set up at a low level, hoping for unrealistically big investment returns.’
The advisor should have warned you that the endowment might not grow big enough to pay off your mortgage or provide an additional lump sum by the end of the term. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) states: ‘A firm must pay due regard to the information needs of its customers, and communicate information to them in a way which is clear, fair and not misleading’ (Principle 7 – Communications with customers).
Clearly, this was not the case in the selling of many Endowment Mortgages.
It’s important to note that you can only complain about the way your Endowment Mortgage was sold to you – not its performance. The poor performance of the investments used to support endowments simply demonstrates the poor advice at the time of sale.
When the FSA agreed the rules governing the endowment mortgage compensation claims processes, it was decided to set a time limit for policy holders to make claims. So long as the company that sold the policy has gone through a pre-defined process of issuing warnings by letter, then it was agreed that a time-bar could be implemented to block open-ended future claims. Under the FSA rules, endowment mortgage holders were told that they had to complain within three years of receiving their first warning letter, or within 6 months of receiving a second warning ‘red’ or ‘amber’ letter – whichever comes last.
Understandably, you may feel you’ve missed your chance to claim and will never see the compensation that’s rightfully yours. Rest assured, EMCAS employs time-bar specialists who are regarded as the best in the business at overturning time-bars. In many cases we can persuade firms to re-open their investigations by lodging a new and different complaint or by demonstrating that their rejection letter was in some way negligent.
1) In 1991 Dr. K & Dr. C were incorrectly advised to take out a £58,000 endowment policy to repay their mortgage. To make matters worse, they were given further bad advice by the same firm in 1999 and 2009 to increase their policy to cover additional mortgage borrowing totalling £130,000. We fought their case and the Firm made an offer of £16,000 in compensation. However, upon checking the calculations it was discovered that they had not been carried out in accordance with FSA rules and the firm had not taken into account all of the bad advice they had given. We disputed the offer and successfully reclaimed £33,000 for our customers.
2) In 1994, Mrs F was a widow with 3 dependent children. She had very limited financial resources available for the repayment of her mortgage and had no savings or investment experience. Despite not being able to take any risks with her mortgage, Mrs F was advised to take out a £25,000 endowment policy which depended on the performance of the stock market. The firm initially rejected the complaint, claiming that their advice was suitable and Mrs F was fully aware of the risk she was taking. However, our financial experts did not agree and appealed the case to the Financial Ombudsman Service. The Ombudsman agreed and instructed the firm to uphold the complaint. Eventually, Mrs F received an offer for over £5,000 in compensation.
If you feel you were mis-sold an Endowment Mortgage – or are simply unsure – give us a call.
Our fee is 35% +VAT of any compensation arising from any claim made by us on your behalf for alleged mis-selling of an Endowment Policy.
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Joanne's letter illustrates that in some cases a time-bar may not necessarily prevent us from making a successful claim for compensation.