IoM-based OMI and FPI hit back over class action threat

Old Mutual International (OMI) and Friends Provident International (OMI) have denied any wrong-doing amid claims that a 300-strong group of investors are planning a class action lawsuit, over alleged mis-selling of unregulated collective investment schemes (Ucis), via Isle of Man-based subsidiaries.

Both FPI and OMI told International Investment that they believe that the lawsuit – should it make it to court – will be thrown out.

The group that could be up to 300-strong has accused the companies of mis-selling Ucis to expats and pensioners in jurisdictions including Thailand, Indonesia, Cyprus and the UAE, via subsidiaries in the Isle of Man.

The collective schemes’ losses reportedly amount to £200m, with class action set to commence within the next two months. The lawsuit is being pushed by a claims manager and could be worth as much as £80m, according to a report in UK news outlet City AM.

The claim is targeting that Old Mutual International as liable now that the funds have now lost value, as it was the facilitator of the wrapper.

OMI says that since it does not provide any services outside of the provision of insurance policies, it is not responsible for investment selection or performance, or the financial advice investors receive, and therefore it is not liable.

It does supply open architecture portfolio bond wrappers through which investors, including expats, can invest in several different funds. The claims are understood not to involve any accusations of unsuitable recomendations from financial advisers within the Old Mutual group.

‘Without merit’
“We are aware of the allegations and have responded to those in detail. The allegations are baseless and without merit,” OMI said in a statement.

FPI also released a statement, saying it “denies all allegations of wrong-doing or liability”. The company added that it “does not have a UK presence and it is not authorised to give investment advice”.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pedro Gonçalves
Pedro Gonçalves is Financial Correspondent at International Investment.

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