Pensions  

Former footballers launch mis-selling case against adviser

Former footballers launch mis-selling case against adviser

Seven former Premier League footballers have launched a High Court battle against a financial adviser over £3m of allegedly mis-sold pensions and investments.

The retired footballers have claimed they were ill-advised by Kevin Neal, who was a director of a number of now defunct financial advice firms. 

The claimants argued they were mis-sold pensions and given poor advice on investments, with some losing up to £850,000 and being forced to sell their family homes, according to law firm High Street Solicitors, which is representing the footballers.

The firm said the footballers were dishonestly advised to invest their pensions in investments which were deemed to be high risk - something the claimants were not aware of.

Mr Neal did not file a defence but told the Daily Mail the claims were “flagrantly false”.

Mr Neal also told the paper the claimants had sought riskier investments and had enjoyed good returns before the financial crash.

The retired footballers are suing Mr Neal along with 13 provider firms, including James Hay, AJ Bell, Standard Life Assurance, Curtis Banks, Rowanmoor and Suffolk Life. 

Mandy Howarth, a solicitor at High Street Solicitors, said: “The FCA has regulations and guidance in place as a means of ensuring firms authorised by them meet industry standards. 

“This ensures, as best it can, consumers are protected in circumstances like these. 

“Unfortunately, however, our clients were let down by their financial advisor, pension operators and trustees and the alleged failures to meet such standards. Their pensions should never have been exposed to such high risk investments.”

Mr Neal has previously been taken to court by former England football star Alan Shearer over the management of his pension investments.

A £100,000 settlement was made to Mr Shearer in 2019.

Kevin Neal Associates Wealth Management was declared in default last year after the FSCS received a valid claim against the firm, which has not been authorised by the regulator since March 2015.

Mr Neal founded the firm after his previous firm, Kevin Neal Associates Limited, went bust.

The FSCS had paid out £3m in relation to this firm by July 2017 and further claims were in the works.

In May 2018 Mr Neal, and his wife, Cheryl Neal, were banned from acting as company directors for six and four years respectively, for taking assets from Kevin Neal Associates Limited after the firm became insolvent in July 2013.

Their new firm, Kevin Neal Associates Wealth Management, had been incorporated to take over the wealth management business of the insolvent company including any liabilities.

amy.austin@ft.com

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