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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3692
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I am a British national who lived in Hong Kong for 30 years, but I have now retired to the UK. I have recently found out that my financial adviser, also a British national, about 2 years ago forged my signature authorising a fund purchase which incurred a debt of £40,000 in my name.
I have made a report to the police in Hong Kong and they are investigating, but unfortunately the adviser has closed his company in HK and fled to the UK. I have discovered his address and would like to institute proceeding against him for recovery of £40,000, plus other associated costs. I know that he has just purchased a house for £500,000 on mortgage, so he must be in funds.
I would appreciate your advice.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your question and welcome.
My name is ***** ***** I will assist you.
Do you have proof he forged your signature?
If you commence proceedings against him in England and obtain a Judgment, you can secure a charging order against his property and then seek an order for sale. Your debt would then be secured.
The only issue is actually proving he defrauded you. Did he benefit to the tune of £40k?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

Thank you for offering to assist me.

I first need to confirm that this action would be accepted under the UK legal system. So, in clarification, I am a British national who resided in HK from 1982 until recently; my financilal adviser is also a British national who had his own financial advisory company in HK from the late 1990s when he took over management of my pension savings. The offence took place in Hong Kong, which is where he was licenced. The Insurance company holding my Pension Bond is International, but licenced in the Isle of Man.The adviser is now living in England, ostensibly in retirement on health grounds.

I discovered in November last year that he had in 2012 fraudulently misused my signature on a dealing order to buy an investment for £40,000, although I did not have the funds to pay for it, putting my pension Bond into negative balance by £40,000. He did not personally benefit by that amount, although no doubt he received some commission.

The reason he authorised the purchase was to cover up his own ineptitude in the overall management of my Bond. By this time, three of the four funds in the Bond were either suspended or in liquidation. Then, due to my enforced absence from HK for medical treatment in the UK he managed by the use of subterfuge to keep the truth from me.

I only discovered the truth upon my return to HK in November 2014, by which time he had closed his company, surrendered his licence and fled to the UK. All of my attempts to contact him have been in vain. I have discovered his UK address.

I immediately made reports to the HK police, Insurance Commissioner and the Securities & Futures Commission. All of which are carrying out their own investigations into his conduct.

At the same time, I contacted the insurance company holding my Pension Bond and have been locked in correspondence with them for the last 5 months. They are using the standard disclaimers to refuse to accept responsibility for the actions of my adviser, even though I can prove that I did not sign the Client Confirmation of the dealing order.

I was out of HK at the time the deal was processed and although the signature looks authentic, I believe that it was probably a 'cut and paste' job. There is no physical way that I could have signed the document in question.

Over to you.

Peter.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

I am still waiting for a reply to the supplementary information I have posted.

Please advise when I can expect to hear from you.

Kind regards,

Peter

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Please advise, is someone actually reviewing my question at the moment?

Peter.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

Are you still dealing with my question? I have supplementary points to put to you.

Please respond as I need to get some answers and if you are unable to provide them, please pass me over to someone who is able to assist.

Kind regards,

Peter.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Good Morning,
Thank you.
My apologies for the delay. I am reviewing this now - I will revert to you shortly.
Kind regards
AJ
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your response.
Can you confirm two small points:
(i) Did you sign a retainer letter with him? Ultimately you are suing for fraud and negligence - as you are both British nationals there is no reason why the claim could not be heard in the UK - unless your retainer with him said it was subject to the exclusive Jurisdiction of the Hong Kong Courts;
(ii) Does/did he have an professional indemnity insurance policy for his service? Was this mentioned in his retainer or terms and conditions?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

Thanks for your response. I will get back to you shortly.

Kind regards,

Peter.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you very much.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I have just sent a detailed reply, but I has just disappeared!

Have you by any chance received it?

Peter

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
I am afraid not - did it say it had been posted?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I just pressed 'Reply to Expert' and it disappeared. I assumed it had gone.

I have just re-typed and sent again with the same result.

Am I doing something wrong?

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Let me report this to the administrator and see if they can help.
Kind regards
AJ
Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you for your patience.
Could I trouble you to try and re post your response once more?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

I will be out until later.

I will get back to you a.s.a.p.

Regards,

Peter

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I did not sign a retainer and I don't know whether he carried professional indemnity insurance.

Regards,

Peter

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Please advise the chances of obtaining Legal Aid and any associated costs.

Please give me an estimated cost of contacting my local solicitor to review my case in detail.

Regards,

Peter.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Do you own your home or have any income - legal aid for civil claims is incredibly difficult to obtain.
For a £40k claim I would expect a solicitor to charge around £8-£10k but these costs can be recovered if your claim is successful.
Furthermore have you check your home insurance to see if you have any cover for legal fees?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

Thanks for the information.

I do own my home and have a state pension, but because of the collapse of my pension bond, I have lost over £120k [including the £40k] and am dependent on my son for regular financial support. I have no remaining capital.

Kind regards,

Peter

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

Thanks for the tip about home insurance. I see that I am actually covered for Family Legal Expenses up to £50k!

However, the only category that appears relevant is headed 'Consumer Disputes' and the cover provided as follows: 'Pursuing or defending a claim, which arises from a contract for services, purchase, hire, hire purchase or sale of personal goods'. Of those, the only possibility is 'contract for services'.

My financial adviser was authorised by me to act on my behalf for the purpose of making investment decisions in respect of my Bond. Do you think this meets the 'contract for services criterion?

Kind regards,
Peter

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you.
Do you have a copy of retainer with him? One that described what he would actually do for you?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

In brief, the situation is this: my pension is held in a tax-efficient bond provided by an insurance company and investments into the bond are made on the recommendation of my financial adviser (after consultation with me and subject to my approval). The agreement for the adviser to act on my behalf is contained in the 'Delegated Investment Instructions' of the insurance company and reads, "I hereby appoint the Intermediary to act on my behalf for the purpose of making investment decisions in respect of my Collective Investment Bond".

As you would expect the insurance company are refusing to accept any responsibility, using the standard exclusion clause as a get out.

Kind regards,

Peter.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
Who recommend the broker to you? Was it the insurance company?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

No, he had been an acquaintance of mine for several years.

Kind regards,

Peter

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thank you.
A financial service is a service, it would be worth asking your home insurance company if this falls within their requirement to cover the litigation fees. A retainer from a finance professional is after all a contract.
You will have to sue him to recover this money, whether it be for fraud or negligence.
Do you know currently how to contact him, i.e what address you would use to serve documents and court proceedings on him?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

Yes, I know his address and I will check with my insurer to see if I am covered.

Kind regards,

Peter

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
Hi
Thank you.
Can I assist you any further?
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

No thanks, ***** ***** been very helpful.

Kind regards,

Peter.

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
If I can assist any further please do not hesititate to contact me.
Kind regards
AJ
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi AJ,

Thank you, ***** ***** take you up on that if necessary.

It has been a pleasure dealing with you.

Kind regards,
Peter

Expert:  Alex J. replied 2 years ago.
I wish you the best of luck.
Kind regards
AJ
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