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The mis-information epidemic

Banks may try to treat the 2007 crash as a financial 
‘act of god’ but, as Joanna Bailie explains, there may 
still be a legal remedy for investors who were not 
adequately advised of the risks

1 February 2013

The commercial practices of the UK’s major banks have been coming under increasing scrutiny, with banks setting aside billions in compensation for their mis-selling of payment protection insurance and over-the-counter derivative products.

The recent Court of Appeal decision in Rubenstein v HSBC PLC ([2012] EWCA Civ 1184) illustrates how customers may have a remedy where they took up complicated investment products which they did not properly understand, or which were inappropriate for their needs. Many found themselves suffering unexpected losses when the financial crisis hit.

In 2005, Mr Rubenstein approached HSBC looking for a safe place for the proceeds of the sale of his family home (£1.25m) pending the purchase of another property. He wanted to find an investment that provided a higher interest rate than a standard bank deposit, but he emphasised that he could not afford to ris...

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