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Is the mis-selling of swaps to businesses the next banking scandal?

Page 4 of today’s Telegraph is the latest in series of articles in recent weeks reporting the FSA’s widening investigation into how and why  SME’s where persuaded or required to enter into swaps transactions that were not suitable for them or their underlying loans.

In some cases SME’s have discovered hidden liabilities that they did not understand at the time they entered into them.  They now have unexpected liabilities that run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. On a proper analysis some of these swaps were effectively open bets on interest rates that bore no relation to the businesses’ underlying loans or their expected cash-flow. Even if they were not wholly inappropriate transactions the advice of the bank at the time the transactions were entered into will need to have been very clear. If the advice was not clear then the contracts may be set aside, by agreement with the bank,  or by order of the court and the business compensated.

The article estimates that 20,000 businesses may have been affected. The sale of swaps spread to all kinds of businesses, even farms and nurseries. In many case the swaps will have been properly sold but it is emerging that many may not have been, each case must be judged on its merits.

If you have been sold a swap, cap, floor, collar or other complex interest rate product Helix Law can advise. The Principal of Helix Law, Jonathan Waters, traded swaps and derivatives for investment banks before qualifying as litigation solicitor. He is uniquely placed to give businesses advice about whether they have been sold the appropriate product in the appropriate way. If your claim is good then Helix Law may agree to act for you on a No Win No Fee basis. For a free diagnostic meeting, phone call or webinar please use the contact details below and/or sign up for the newsletter and/or Tweet, Like or Plus 1 this blog.

 Jonathan Waters is the founder of Helix Law. Before qualifying as a Solicitor he worked in industry and in investment banking for over a decade. He was also the Partner in charge of Commercial Litigation, Employment Law and Property Litigation at Stephen Rimmer LLP. Jonathan has wide experience of helping and advising businesses to avoid or to deal with commercial disputes and in particular construction disputes.

This article is written to raise awareness of the issues it discusses and it may not be updated after it is first written, even if the law changes. It is not intended to be legal advice and cannot be relied on as such. Helix Law is not responsible or liable for any action taken or not taken as a result of  this article. If you think the matters set out affect you and you wish to apply them to your particular circumstances then we are happy to give you free initial telephone advice. 

Contact Helix Law on 01273 761 990 or email: [email protected]