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Do your investments fit your risk profile?

In the current economic climate, many private investors are losing significant sums of money as financial institutions struggle to stay out of the rescue statistics. Many banks and investment companies simply cannot now return the kind of interest rates which were being promoted a matter of months ago. Similarly, investments which might have appeared sensible to the untrained eye a year or two ago are now resulting in disappointment all around.

The media sometimes seem to show little sympathy for private investors. Yet, in a market where capital values can go down as well as up (or even, as certain financial advisers have lately remarked, plummet as well as go down) private investors frequently risk losing sums for which they have worked extremely hard over many years, jeopardising richly-deserved and long dreamed-of retirement plans, provisions for family members or care of the disabled.

In these circumstances it is sensible to review the investment advice provided at the outset and see whether or not that advice met the investor's requirements. Disputes Solicitors at Wards have dealt with a number of cases where risk-averse investors have been advised to put their funds in risky places.

Clients who were reluctant to put all their eggs in one basket by placing a six-figure sum in one building society account, had been advised to invest in an offshore collective investment scheme which later collapsed, losing millions of pounds of client's money. In that case, where James Taylor acted for the Claimants, the financial adviser had received a recommendation of a product from a life company, and succeeded in recovering two-thirds of the losses from the life company itself at trial. The investment recommended simply did not fit the investors' attitude to risk. Properly advised, they would never have released their life savings into that investment.

We have also used the Financial Ombudsman Service, Data Protection laws, expert specialist financial advisers and court proceedings to thoroughly review the advice clients have received when their investments have taken a turn for the worse. We have also assisted clients to claim on their home insurance legal expenses cover to help with the costs of claims of this nature.

Bristol itself has a solid reputation for financial services related matters. A good number of life companies have large offices here. The Mercantile Court in Bristol has heard a significant number of cases of this nature over the years, and is a matter of yards from our Broad Street offices. We have also developed good relationships with local Barristers who specialise in this field, and whose names frequently appear on the leading cases in this area.

Investors in any doubt as to the care and skill exercised by their financial advisers should consider obtaining independent specialised legal advice in this area.

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