Over the course of three years, starting in 2009, Stuart Brothers was approached by a number of businesses who had been sold interest rate hedging products by investment banks. The businesses ranged from holiday park owners to businesses with large property portfolios. However, the problem was the same for each client: the hedging products were working against them at a time when interest rates were falling – the cost was colossal for each business.
Each client wanted to remain on good terms with their bank, so each claim was nuanced; Stuart assessed the legal basis for their claims and then ran what was seen as a ‘test case’ which garnered press coverage and settled shortly before trial.
Following this coverage, he addressed a group of cross-party MPs and took part in conversations with the then FSA around the issue of interest rate hedging products. The FSA redress scheme was subsequently formed, returning consumers to the position they would have been before any failings. This scheme was used by many of Stuart’s clients to settle their claims without further legal expense or disagreement with their banks.
Many of Stuart’s clients received substantial amounts of compensation and could leave their interest rate product without incurring further costs. Nor did they need to change bankers, and were able to take advantage of the continuing fall in interest rates at the time.
Thanks to Stuart’s knowledge of the financial sector and his determination to help those businesses who had been left with interest rate hedging products that were working against them, he was able to achieve a positive outcome for his clients.
He said, “It was very rewarding to bring a blend of case law and regulatory skills to approach what was a difficult subject. I still maintain contact with many of those clients whom I first helped over a decade ago.”