The comment follows UK publications City AM and Money Marketing reporting that OMI and Friends Provident International are facing the threat of a class action law suit in the High Court for mis-selling unregulated collective investment schemes (Ucis).
Describing the allegations as “untrue” and coming from a claims management firm and not a law firm, the spokesperson said: “We think that someone is trying to gather together some policyholders to make this complaint and are using the threat of the High Court to get support.”
Old Mutual International is not party to the discussions between the financial adviser and the client, so the company “doesn’t know what the client’s appetite for risk is or what proportion of their wealth is invested with OMI, so it can’t be held responsible for the advice or the performance of the products selected”, the spokesperson said.
The OMI product “is a wrapper and all of the underlying investments are recommended by financial advisers, who assess a client’s risk and make those selections for the client”, the spokesperson added.
In a public statement, OMI said: “We are aware of the allegations and have responded to those in detail. The allegations are baseless and without merit.”
The name of the claims management firm has not been made public.
Taking legal action
In order for action to be taken against OMI, which is headquartered on the Isle of Man, the proceedings would have to take place on the island.
“There is currently no legal filing in the High Court in the Isle of Man,” the spokesperson said.
There is, however, a degree of ambiguity around which high court the claims company is referring to, with the OMI spokesperson adding that no documents have been filed at the High Court of Justice in London either.
Investments and wrappers
FPI also released a statement, saying it “denies all allegations of wrong-doing or liability”.
The company said it “does not have a UK presence and it is not authorised to give investment advice”.
“Products are selected by an applicant and it is for an applicant’s investment adviser to determine which products are suitable.”
When contacted by International Adviser, FPI declined to provide any additional comments.