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Claim against OMI (Old Mutual International Isle of Man Ltd and Royal Skandia Life Assurance Ltd) and Claim against Friends Provident International Limited.

Coburn Corporate Intelligence Pty Ltd (Australia) (CCI) have organised two claims at no upfront cost to you against Quilter International Isle of Man Ltd (formerly known as Old Mutual International Isle of Man Ltd and Royal Skandia Life Assurance Ltd) (“OMI”) and Friends Provident International Limited (“FPI”) (together the “Insurance Companies”). The claims relate to ‘Bonds’ (known by various names including Portfolio Bonds, Reserve Bonds, Insurance Bonds, Investment Bonds or Redemption Bonds) sold by the Insurance Companies.

Background to claim

The Insurance Companies hosted funds on their platforms which either failed or suffered substantial losses. It is alleged in the claims that people who invested in Bonds which were linked to those funds on the Insurance Companies’ platforms are entitled to compensation.

The failed funds which are included within the existing claims include the following:

  1. Axiom Legal Financing Fund;
  2. LM Managed Performance Fund;
  3. All other LM Group funds including the Trilogy Wholesale FMIF
  4. Premier New Earth (all Premier New Earth managed investment schemes);
  5. Premier Eco Resources
  6. Kijani Fund

We are considering whether further failed funds can and should be added into the claims.

Current stage of claims

London Solicitors (Signature Litigation LLP), Isle of Man Advocates (Callin Wild LLC) and Queen’s Counsel (the “Legal Team”) have reviewed the facts and have prepared both claims. CCI (with the assistance of a specialist funding and insurance broker) have arranged litigation funding and ATE insurance for both claims. The claims were issued by the Isle of Man High Court on 4 March 2020 and were served on both the Defendants on 3 July 2020. As served, the claims are both in excess of £30 million and the total claim may end up being in excess of £100 million (the “Class Actions”).

The Class Actions are overseen by a five-member Litigation Management Committee, comprising of investors and independent members (the “LMC”) with a subgroup for the OMI Claim and the FPI Claim as required.

The claims are still at a relatively early stage. However, we expect the litigation to now progress fairly quickly. We expect a preliminary stage 1 trial in both claims will take place in 2023.

Eligibility to participate in the class actions

  1. Did you invest in a Portfolio Bond linked to funds on platforms run by either OMI (Skandia) or FPI?
  2. Was the Portfolio Bond linked to any of the following funds (the “Failed Funds”)?

    • Axiom Legal Financing Fund;
    • LM Managed Performance Fund;
    • All other LM Group funds including the Trilogy Wholesale FMIF
    • Premier New Earth (all Premier New Earth managed investment schemes);
    • Premier Eco Resources
    • Kijani Fund

If the answers to the above queries are ‘Yes’, you may be able to register for the Class Actions and become a Member. Following registration, your details will be reviewed by CCI and you may be eligible to participate in the Class Actions as a Member.

Registering requires no upfront cost or commitment (although we may require more information from you before you can participate in the Class Actions and/or as the proceedings progress if you are accepted to participate in the Class Actions as a Member).

If and when accepted to participate in either of the Class Actions as a Member, you will have access to:

  1. updates on the progress of the matter;
  2. participation in any settlement that may be reached with OMI or FPI; and
  3. information from the Legal Team and the LMC.

By registering with us, you are providing your consent for us to contact you in relation to this matter, which consent you are at liberty to withdraw at any time by de-registering (N.B. withdrawal if you are accepted as a Member is subject to additional conditions). Registration will not expose you to any liability for costs. If you are eligible and accepted to participate in the Class Actions, we will obtain express authority to incur costs on your behalf (although litigation funding and ATE insurance is in place in relation to such costs). Registration does not create any obligation or duty on the part of CCI or the Legal Team to the registering parties, save to undertake not to pass your contact information on to third parties except in relation to the furtherance of this matter and to delete all contact information from our database in the event that you de-register.

Upon registration, you will need to certify that you purchased relevant Bonds through either OMI or FPI and you believe that you have suffered a loss as a result of those investments. Further information will also be sought from you both at the registration stage and on an ongoing basis.

Once this process has been completed, if you are successfully verified by CCI and Callin Wild, you will become a Member of the OMI Claim or the FPI Claim (as applicable) and you may be eligible to have your claim pursued on your behalf (as part of the Class Actions) in the Isle of Man High Court.

How do I register my claim?

There is no cost to you whatsoever for registering. For existing Members, third-party litigation funding and ATE insurance is in place in relation to the Class Actions’ ongoing costs and adverse costs risk.

All up, registration should take no longer than one hour from start to finish. You will be required to provide your personal details including information on which fund(s) you invested with, through which Insurance Company and the amount of your estimated loss in GBP or equivalent.

If you have kept the original Application Form provided to the insurers in respect of the Bond, it should be uploaded (attached) with your details. Please also provide any other relevant documents in your possession.

1. Register your name and email above.

This adds you to our email list to stay up to date on the progress of the matter. PLEASE NOTE: simply adding your name to our email list and registering does NOT make you a Member of the claims or a claimant. We will send you more information and agreements that you must accept before we can formally add you as a Member. You must also be verified and accepted by CCI and Callin Wild. You would only become a Member at the point at which you are formally added to the proceedings as a claimant.

2. Read and accept the LMA and LMCA agreements

We will email these to you with some details about the Class Actions. Please read them carefully. Accepting is an easy quick reply email or online tick-box check.

3. Upload supporting documents

We need you to upload your supporting documents and provide some details about your claim. We will send you a link via email to provide your information and upload your documents. While you wait for us to send your link, get your documents ready to upload. We can accept PDF files only, and a maximum size of 32MB. If you have trouble with your documents, please contact us by e-mail at admin@coburnci.com.

4. Becoming a member of the class

Once you have submitted all of your information, your claim will be reviewed by us and we may contact you for further information or clarification. Should you pass the verification process, you will NOT immediately become a Member of the claims. You will only become a Member at the point at which you are formally added to the proceedings as a claimant (we will seek to add you in this way by agreement or court order in the near future).

Frequently Asked Questions

The Insurance Companies marketed and sold investment products described as “Portfolio Bonds” or “Insurance Bonds” (with specific product names such as the “Executive Investment Bond” and the “Reserve Investment Bond”). These investment products are referred to below as “Bonds” and were sold to customers all over the world – in particular, expatriate retirees.

The capital invested in the Bonds was placed in various funds which have now failed or suffered substantial losses. The Failed Funds that are currently within the scope of the claim are the following:

Axiom Legal Financing Fund

LM Managed Performance Fund

All other LM Group funds including the Trilogy Wholesale FMIF

Premier New Earth (all investment schemes managed by Premier New Earth)

Premier Eco Resources Fund

Kijani Fund

The Class Actions are being brought in the High Court of the Isle of Man where the Insurance Company Defendants are domiciled. In very simple terms, the claims are that:

OMI and FPI made false statements about the nature of the Bonds to investors. In particular, statements which led investors to falsely believe that they would not be exposed to the risk of a total loss of capital when they invested in the Bonds.

Investors relied on these false statements and suffered substantial losses as a result. Had they known the true position, they would have invested their money into safer investments.

OMI and FPI had a legal duty to carry out proper due diligence on the Failed Funds but failed to do so.

As a consequence of the Insurance Companies’ failures and breaches of duty, investors’ money was invested into the Failed Funds resulting in a substantial (in many cases total, or almost total) loss of capital.

The aim is for claimants to receive as large a recovery as possible. However, the return will depend on various factors which cannot be predicted at the moment, including whether or not the defendants make an early settlement offer, and so it is impossible to be definitive at this early stage or offer any guarantee of what might be recovered. Funding, insurance and legal costs will also need to be deducted from any recoveries prior to distribution to investors.

The sale of the products was structured in a way which means that, in most cases, investors are unable to benefit from any UK regulatory compensation schemes (and the equivalent Isle of Man regulator has no comparable scheme). We are however aware of some instances where the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) has compensated investors (for example, because an FCA-regulated entity was involved in the sale process). If you have received compensation from the FSCS or any other party, please provide full details when you sign up.

It is highly unlikely that recoveries (or at least any meaningful recoveries) will be possible through the liquidation of the Failed Funds since there is little or no value left in them, and neither OMI nor FPI are likely to compensate investors voluntarily.

In short, therefore, a legal claim against OMI and FPI is likely to be the only viable route open to investors to recover compensation for their losses.

The Class Actions are being managed by a Litigation Management Committee which includes fellow investors in the Bonds. The Committee is advised by an experienced team of lawyers and other professionals practicing in London and the Isle of Man (please see below for details of the Legal Team) (the “LMC”). When signing up to the claims, and before being admitted as Members of the Class Actions (at the point at which they formally become Claimants), investors will need to give a delegated authority to enable the LMC to give instructions to the Legal Team in order for the litigation to be conducted. This is because it would be unworkable for the Legal Team to have to give their advice to, and seek instructions from, hundreds of individual investors, particularly in the context of fast-moving litigation.

If either of the Class Actions are defended all the way to a final judgment, we estimate that they may take one to three years to resolve in the Isle of Man Court.

Either Class Action may be resolved sooner if the defendants agree to a mediation or settlement. The LMC is empowered to make a decision, acting on legal advice, as to whether or not to accept a settlement offer. However, the case has been set up (and the funding and insurance arrangements have been structured) on the assumption that both cases will need to be pursued all the way to final judgment.

No. A litigation funder has agreed to finance the legal costs of the proceedings. Insurance from a reputable insurer has also been purchased for the benefit of the existing claimants in order to cover a potential adverse costs exposure up to a defined financial amount.

These arrangements have been put in place so that you will not be required to make any financial contribution to the legal costs of pursuing the Class Actions. Further, we believe that there are sufficient arrangements in place to meet any liability for the defendants’ costs if either of the Class Actions should fail or if there should be an adverse costs award against some or all of the investors.

If there is a successful outcome (whether through a settlement or following judgment), contingent amounts will be paid to the litigation funder, the ATE insurer, the LMC, CCI and the Legal Team out of part of the proceeds.

Yes, provided you agree with the information that they provide in response to the questionnaire.

You can only participate in the Class Actions if you were sold a Bond by OMI or FPI. Unfortunately, we cannot accept registrations from direct investors in the Failed Funds who were not sold a Bond.

Please provide us with copies of your supporting documents and we will confirm whether you are able to join.

There is a strict time limit to bring legal claims for losses of this nature. However, we believe that the vast majority of investors will still be in time to bring their claim. We will, however, ask you to complete some questions in a questionnaire in order to assess whether you qualify.

Coburn Corporate Intelligence Pty Ltd ACN 160 777 962 (CCI) specialises in investigating and bringing large claims against financial institutions. We put together a team of lawyers and help to arrange funding and insurance to bring actions in order to obtain compensation for investors. The majority of our fees are contingent on winning the case and there is therefore a full alignment of interests here.

The LMC is advised and represented by an experienced and leading legal team comprising:

Signature Litigation LLP

Signature is a law firm based in the City of London and is recognised by the major legal directories for its expertise in commercial and banking disputes. Signature’s specialism is major and complex litigation: for example, they acted for the largest investor group by value in the rights issue litigation against RBS. Daniel Spendlove, a Partner, will lead this particular matter.

Graham Chapman QC

Graham is a leading commercial barrister and a member of 4 New Square Chambers. He is acting for a claimant group in the Ingenious film finance group litigation and has extensive experience of litigating in the Isle of Man. He is recognised in particular for his expertise in commercial litigation with an offshore element and in complex investment disputes.

Jonathan Wild (Callin Wild)

Jonathan is Head of Litigation at Callin Wild, a law firm which has one of the most renowned litigation teams on the Isle of Man. Jonathan is recommended by the major legal directories and has been recognised as a Leading Individual for his work in recent years.

You will not be added to the Class Actions at this time. CCI will add you to a database for the Class Actions and we may require further information from you. If you are eligible to join and complete the necessary steps, you will only be added as a Member of the Class Actions at the point at which you are formally added to the proceedings by agreement or court order. CCI or the Legal Team will inform you when you have been added to the Class Actions.

If you did not meet the entry criteria you would be informed of that fact and unfortunately you will not be eligible to join the Class Action.

If you were eligible but your request was not received in time to join the Class Action before proceedings were served on the defendants on 3 July 2020, your claim is currently pending and you are not a Member of the Class Actions. We will be in contact with you once a process for formally adding claimants by agreement or court order is in place. You would only become a Member of the Class Actions at the point at which you are formally added as a claimant to the proceedings.

Whether and on what terms you are entitled to surrender Failed Funds (for example, so that you can exit all your holdings) is likely to require financial advice specific to your situation which we cannot give. In addition, it may depend on the terms and conditions you signed up to originally. If the failed funds are held through a trust type structure you may need to liaise with the trustee on this. You may therefore wish to take your own professional advice before redeeming.

If you do decide to surrender the failed funds or in any other way relinquish your rights to them, you will need to notify us immediately so that your status can be updated and any charges or other financial penalties incurred as a result of the redemption can also be recorded.