August 13, 2013

Interest rate hedging, yet another banking scandal

The FCA (formerly the FSA) is now well into its full review of the widespread mis-selling of interest rate hedging products (IRHPs) to small businesses. In June last year the FSA had announced that it had found serious failings in the sale of IRHPs. The main banks involved have now agreed to work with the FCA in reviewing individual customers’ positions.

The review is focused on the sale of IHRPs to “non-sophisticated” customers. A non-sophisticated customer is likely to be a small business that does not have specific expertise in understanding IRHPs. Also, there is likely to be a cut-off threshold applied where the value of the “live” IRHPs at any one time was more than £10 million.

A large number of “buy to let” landlords were encouraged by their banks to enter into interest rate hedging products. The general indicators of mis-selling are as follows:

  • Poor disclosure of exit costs
  • Failure to ascertain customers’ understanding of risk
  • Salesmanship that strayed into giving advice
  • Over-hedging i.e. where the amounts and/or duration did not match the underlying loans
  • Rewards and incentives being a driver of these practices

If you believe that you were mis-sold an IRHP and you have not yet intimated a claim to the FCA then please feel free to contact me.

Mark Cornell is Managing Partner of Holmes & Hills in Braintree and a specialist litigation and commercial dispute resolution solicitor.

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