Over the course of the past few years, there has been considerable controversy over the financial mis-selling at UK banks.
Many small and medium-sized businesses were sold interest rate swaps, caps and collars and other derivative products. Financial institutions stood to make significant amounts of money from the sale of these products and persuaded a large number of companies to enter into these arrangements.
Often the product was sold by a bank as a condition of granting a loan to a SME and staff have subsequently faced criticism for not advising businesses about the risks involved.
Interest rate swaps
Arguably the most high-profile mis-selling scandal involved interest rate swap agreements (IRSA), often referred to simply as swaps.
These products were widely sold over a period of several years and the arrangements have had a devastating effect on large numbers of SMEs. In the worst cases the financial hardship that has resulted has seen businesses close down altogether.
At the heart of the problem is that the products were sold as protection against high interest rates, with no explanation of the consequences if interest rates remained low.
Financial institutions have also been accused of not doing enough to outline the relationship between the loan and the swap, or failing to properly inform businesses about the exit charges.
Making a claim
It is estimated by the Financial Conduct Authority [FCA] that 28,000 swap agreements were mis-sold to UK businesses by the ‘Big Four’ banks. This has opened the floodgates to litigation and some predict that the banks could eventually end up paying around £4.5billion in refunds and compensation.
Depending on the circumstances in which your business was mis-sold a product, there may be several courses of action available. A bank which misled your business or failed to make you properly aware about the details of the arrangement you were entering into could be liable for a statutory claim, a breach of duty of care or misrepresentation.
The situation surrounding older products (those sold over six years ago) can be complicated by the fact that banks will argue that the window for taking legal action has elapsed. While this argument may be challenged, seeking legal advice as soon as possible can increase the likelihood of your claim succeeding.
Our experienced team of solicitors can advise businesses which have been mis-sold products by financial institutions about the various options open to them and will work to achieve the best possible outcome.
Meet the team
Lisa Ginesi is a partner in our commercial litigation and dispute resolution team. Her practice covers a wide range of commercial disputes and predominantly relates to all forms of property disputes. The clients Lisa acts for range from large corporate property developers and investors to private property owning individuals.
Lisa regularly advises on a wide variety of issues affecting both residential and commercial properties and an extensive range of contractual disputes. Lisa has particular expertise in landlord and tenant disputes, the 1954 Act, dilapidation issues, nuisance claims; boundary disputes, possession claims, construction and development contracts, party wall disputes, trespasser proceedings and all aspects of enfranchisement.
In every case, Lisa actively looks for ways to reach practical and cost-effective solutions, whether that is through negotiation, court proceedings, self-help remedies or alternative dispute resolution. She works with her clients as part of a team, often alongside surveyors, engineers and a variety of other experts.
Recent Transactions include;
- Successfully appealing against two Party Wall Awards and securing costs for our client in a case relating to a substantial development in Shoreditch.
- Acting for a corporate property developer in a dispute to enforce the terms of a sale and construction agreement, to enable our client to complete their development and sell a number of flats.
- Acting for a sole trader tenant, of a commercial shop in Great Russell Street in a claim against his landlord for unreasonably delaying and withholding consent to an assignment of his lease.
- Acting for a residential property developer who intended to carry out underpinning works and was served with an injunction obtained by the Council to stop works for alleged breach of planning regulations and starting excavation for basement works.
- Advising on a complex lease renewal of commercial premises under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, involving; disputed terms for a new lease; unauthorised sub-lettings and breach of planning legislation.
- Advising a client who owns the freehold of a large residential block of flats in London in relation to a number of applications to extend leases under the 1993 Act, including dealing with applications to the First Tier Tribunal. Conversely, advising a number of tenants, in a different block of flats, on their rights to extend their leases.
- Advising on a range of enfranchisement issues, including lease extensions and purchases of freeholds under the 1993 and 1967 Acts, and rights of first refusal under the 1987 Act.
- Acting in a number of contractual property disputes including; disputed joint venture agreements; breaches and termination of JCT contracts; claims against insurers for losses and claims for unpaid fees and defective works.
Early in her career, Lisa had the privilege of being part of the team which took a highly technical lease renewal case to the House to Lords (P&O v Graysim).
Some notable and reported cases include;
- Sai Ventures Ltd v Compar Properties Ltd  – an appeal against two Party Wall Awards in a case relating to a substantial development in Shoreditch.
- H Waites Ltd v Hambledon court Ltd and others  – landlord and tenant dispute concerning air space and extent of the tenants’ demise.
- Anslow and others v Norton Aluminium Ltd  – a GLO claim for multi million pound damages in nuisance, claimed to be caused by smell, noise and dust.
- Delgable Ltd v Perinpanathan  – landlord and tenant dispute concerning the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 Act and liability to repair roof.
- P&O Property Holdings Limited v Graysim  – dispute on the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. This was a Supreme Court decision.
Judicial Appointment: Lisa was appointed a Deputy District Judge to the South Eastern Circuit in 2020.
Lisa was educated at Haydon Bridge High School in Northumberland and then studied law at the University of West London. She was admitted as a solicitor in 1992, having trained and qualified at Carter Lemon Camerons. Lisa is a member of the Property Litigation Association, Women in Business, Women in Property, the Association of Women Solicitors and the Law Society.
Seamus Smyth is head of litigation and arbitration. His practice is primarily commercial with an emphasis on arbitration, financial services and work for South African and Italian clients.
His reported cases include RH Green & Silley Weir v BR (limitation period against 3rd party), de Bry v Fitzgerald (security for costs), Hartt v Newspaper Publishing (libel concerning a work by Michelangelo), Pearson v Sanders Witherspoon (valuation of loss of chance), Siebe Gorman v Pneupac (status of consent orders), Senate Electrical v NTL (liability of an employee for acquisition warranties) and Bendell v Smith & Others (a successful recovery action by a lender on a shared appreciation mortgage equity release – the only such case to go to trial).
Recently involved in enforcement of foreign arbitration awards, claims arising from the banking upheavals since 2007, a successful claim against a high street bank resulting from a banking error and a successful claim against estate administrators and their solicitors for wasting the estate funds on irresponsible litigation.
Educated (BA, LLB, Wits) and first qualified as an attorney in South Africa, he requalified in England in 1977, took an LLM at UCL and a Diploma in International Arbitration at QM, and became an FCIArb. He is chairman of the British South African Law Association (for the second time), chairman of Michaelhouse UK Trust, chairman of Global Leadership Foundation (UK), a former President of the London Solicitors Litigation Association and Trustee and President of Town Malling Cricket Club (established in 1827!). He was until 2012 a Visiting Senior Lecturer in International Commercial Arbitration at London Metropolitan University. When work and domesticity permit he plays some cricket and more golf (but – which is immediately obvious – not nearly enough).