Ask Sindie: 'My endowment mis-selling claim led to a dead end'

Can you still get compensation if your adviser has stopped trading?

I have recently written to my endowment company to complain about a possible mis-sold policy.

I was told to contact the financial advice and insurance intermediary that had sold the policy to me. But when I did, I discovered this company was no longer trading.

Can you please advise me what to do next?

PM, via email

Not all is lost for the consumer when a company stops trading. But much will depend on whether it's gone bust, slipped into administration or changed into a new firm altogether.

As a customer with a complaint over a possible loan mis-sale, you first need to establish the precise status of the company you bought the product from, says Emma Parker, a spokeswoman for the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).

If the intermediary has stopped trading and is waiting to be wound up, it could still have some assets left. In this case, the FOS will take charge of your mis-selling complaint.

But if the original company has stopped trading under its old name and is continuing under a new one, you may be able to pursue your mis-selling claim yourself - backed up by the FOS if you get nowhere, Ms Parker says.

There could be a fly in the ointment here, though. The business may be trading in new guise but have ditched its old liabilities - including any responsibility for your policy. In this case, you would need to contact the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) for help.

Finally, if the company has simply gone bust, you should again contact the FSCS, which will handle your mis-selling claim. A £48,000 limit applies to any compensation paid.

If, in any of these scenarios, a mis-sale is found to have taken place, you'll be eligible for compensation. This is usually worked out by comparing your current financial position with what it would have been had you taken out a repayment mortgage.

However, there is a further complication in each of these scenarios. If you were sold a policy before 29 April 1988, you won't qualify for help from the FOS. And if the sale was before 28 August in the same year, you won't be eligible for assistance from the FSCS.

Essentially, this is because rules on the selling of endowments were tightened from then on. So if you were mis-sold the policy before the above dates, sadly, you won't be able to claim any compensation. Hopefully, though, you'll be one of the 90 per cent of claimants who were sold endowment mortgages after the 1988 cut-off dates.

The good news is that help is available to you to determine the current status of the advice company that sold you the policy. Try the Financial Services Authority's consumer helpline on 0845 606 1234; the FOS on 0845 080 1800; or FSCS on 020 7892 7300.

I've had two mailshots from the Children's Mutual land on my doormat, advertising its child trust fund [CTF].

My baby is two months old and I know I should be thinking about the best way to invest the £250 [voucher, available to all children born after 1 September 2002]. But I really don't have the time to go and see anyone.

My bank (Barclays) has also been in touch but I'd rather not have all my money with one provider.

Can I simply save time and go with the Children's Mutual?

LF, Norwich

No doubt it feels like a chore but you really should make time to consider the options for your baby.

That £250 voucher is to be locked away - along with any other money up to £1,200 that you can afford to invest tax-free each year - for 18 years. Over this long a period, there will be great potential to generate a handy lump sum when your child comes of age.

There are basically three options available to you.

Put the voucher into a cash deposit fund, where it will earn between 3 and 5.5 per cent interest a year.

Or invest in a cheap-to-run shares fund with a "lifestyling" facility that switches the cash into safer deposit accounts once your child reaches the age of 13.

Or you could opt for a riskier shares fund with higher annual charges.

The decision will come down to your attitude to risk. You need to be happy with where you're putting the money - whether it's earning a steady interest rate in a bank or building society, or generating possibly higher returns in a shares-based fund that might also fall in value if the stock market falters.

Some independent financial advisers recommend sticking the cash in shares, arguing that, over such a long period, any downturn in the markets will be smoothed out. But others argue that a deposit account will give parents peace of mind.

Take 30 minutes to log on to, a government-sponsored website, and click on its "Use our toolkit" icon. This offers useful advice and includes a list of providers.

If you need help from our consumer champion, write to Sindie at The Independent on Sunday, Independent House, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS or email We cannot return documents, give personal replies or guarantee to answer letters. We accept no legal responsibility for advice given.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Neil Pavier: Management Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...

    Sheridan Maine: Commercial Accountant

    £45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...

    Laura Norton: Project Accountant

    £50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine