When reading about mis-sold investment in the media, it’s normal to focus on the financial aspect – the reduced savings, or the impact it might have on the victim’s retirement. Most people don’t consider the emotions associated with this type of incident; and in some extreme cases, how poor financial practice can lead to anxiety, depression and sometimes worse.
TV presenter Noel Edmonds has talked openly about his experiences after being scammed by HBOS Reading. Here’s more about what happened, and what action Edmonds took afterwards.
In 2005, Edmonds’ business (Unique Group) collapsed, thanks to a loans scam pulled by HBOS employees in Reading. He wasn’t the only one to get caught up in this mis-selling scandal; according to reports, hundreds of small businesses were left “cheated, defeated and penniless” by the scheme, which scammed around £245 million in total from its customers.
Edmonds has since spoken out about the experience, saying that he was brought to the “brink of emotional annihilation”, and felt so low, he was almost driven to take his own life.
The Emotional Impact of Mis-Sold Financial Products
Discovering that you’ve been cheated out of money isn’t a comfortable sensation. It’s likely you’ll experience a range of emotions; including disbelief, distress and even shame that you were ‘tricked’ into a poor investment.
Noel Edmonds stated, after finding out that he faced financial ruin as a result of HBOS Reading’s actions, that he “attempted to end the overwhelming mental pain which had consumed my whole being.”Thankfully, the Devon Ambulance Crew managed to locate him in time, and he was able to undergo therapy in Bristol afterwards.
The group of bankers responsible for the corrupt scheme have since been imprisoned. Lynden Scourfield, the former senior HBOS manager, was described by the judge as having “got his tentacles into the business of ordinary and honest people and ripped them apart without a thought for those affected.” He received a prison sentence of 11 years and three months. Likewise, five of his partners were also sentenced.
Edmonds, like many other business owners caught out by the scam, sought compensation for their losses. In July, he increased his claim to £300 million, stating that his lawyer had gathered substantial information which “gives a clear picture of the scale of the destruction to my business interests and the financial losses I have suffered.” He added that, given the impact the scam had on his finances, “£300m is actually a conservative figure.”
Thus far, Lloyds Bank (responsible for rescuing HBOS during the financial crisis), have paid out over £10 million in compensation, and have set aside a provisional total of £100 million. However, a spokesperson for the bank has stated that this figure remains a “best estimate, but if we need to increase this amount we will absolutely do so.”
Fighting Mis-sold Financial Products
If you’ve been a victim of mis-selling, it’s your legal right to seek compensation. To find out if you can make a claim, make sure you speak to a mis-sold investments expert, who will be able to assist you further. Most importantly, don’t suffer in silence – if your financial institution acted fraudulently, negligently or irresponsibly, you’re within your rights to be reimbursed for any financial loss you may have suffered.