Sanlam scores victory over CMC in Fos decision

Sanlam scores victory over CMC in Fos decision

The Financial Ombudsman Service has rejected a complaint made by a claims management company for a blind Sanlam client.

A client, known as Mr S, used a claims management company to complain to the Fos about two savings plans recommended by Sanlam Life & Pensions UK Limited in 1988 and 1989.

The compensation chasing company said Mr S did not have a requirement for plans with such long terms and the terms were misrepresented as Mr S was led to believe they were suitable as medium-term investments.

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The claims manager also said there was no evidence other savings options were discussed.

Sanlam rejected the complaint and pointed out the adviser’s duty was to recommend a suitable product but he did not have to provide a list of alternative products.

There were nothing to show what the adviser discussed, but Sanlam stated it had not seen enough to be convinced the adviser acted incorrectly.

Sanlam also said the information Mr S would have received about the plans would have provided sufficient explanation the plans were for long-term investment and Mr S signed to confirm he had received the brochures.

Mr S would also have received a letter with illustrations showing what he might recover at various dates so would have known what he was likely to receive when he surrendered the plans.

A Fos adjudicator stated that while there was a lack of evidence it was not uncommon for such plans to be sold until retirement age so she did not think the term was inappropriate.

She did not think the life cover plan rendered the plan inappropriate as Mr S was married and his wife would have benefitted from the death benefit if he had died.

The adjudicator thought the product literature would have made Mr S reasonably aware of the nature and term of the plans. She said there was insufficient evidence to suggest the plans were unsuitable.

The claims management company did not agree with the Fos adjudicator.

The claims manager claimed the adviser who sold the second savings plan in 1989 to Mr S thought most salespeople promoted the plans as being appropriate for medium to long-term savings and it was only later it became clear they were not suitable for medium-term savings.

The CMC also said Mr S believed the plans were suitable to be cashed in after 10 years and added, as he was blind, he would have been unable to review the product literature in detail.

Philip Gibbons, ombudsman, ruled he had not been persuaded by the evidence to convince him that Sanlam had misrepresented the plans to Mr S.

While there is no record of the discussions that took place when either plan was sold to Mr S, Mr Gibbons said because of the length of time since the plans were sold, and also the time since they were surrendered, this was unsurprising.