8 Stage Process

At Money and Me Solicitors, we pride ourselves on consistently achieving the service level standards set out in our 8-Stage Process, and in doing so, building on the excellent reputation David Miller and his team developed as Money and Me Claims. With a little help from you, our aim is to exceed your expectations throughout your client journey.

Pursuing a claim for damages can often be a long, frustrating process….Part of our job is to help you understand the process that you are about to embark upon, what you can expect from us, and just as importantly, what we require of you. We will be on hand to clarify any queries you have, ensuring that we manage your expectations fairly from the very beginning.

A good starting point is for you to understand that any damages awarded (subject to limitations) are supposed to ‘put you back’ to the financial position you would have been in, had you not acted on the unsuitable advice you received. When presenting your case, we are required to provide evidence that regulatory rules were breached when the financial transaction(s) under scrutiny took place. If we are successful, this is when damages are likely to be awarded.

Of course, we can never guarantee a successful outcome, however we do guarantee to work diligently and to ‘treat you fairly’ by being honest and transparent with you every step of the way.

We kindly ask that you take the time necessary to read through the 8-Stage Process below so that we can discuss any questions you may have on our next call.  It is not intended to bind you or us as a contractual document, but sets out how we can work together to achieve the best possible outcome for you. The aims on timescales are obviously not guaranteed as they are dependent on factors such as your ability to provide what we need within the timeframes we suggest, the complexity of your claim or claims and the way in which third parties such as the other side and the adjudicator determining your claim provide timely responses and decisions on your claim or claims.

STAGE 1:    Welcome

What you can expect from us:

Following your enquiry, one of our Financial Services Analysts will call you or contact you via your preferred alternative method of contact to explain who we are, to give you some important regulatory information (such as how and what we charge) and to clarify how we will approach your claim. If we believe there is merit in your case, we will email you a digital copy of this Client Pack which contains our Contract and other important information for you to carefully read and understand. We are also able to post a hard copy version of our Client Pack should you prefer.

What we require of you:

All we ask is that you read everything through carefully and ensure you understand everything. We expect you to respond to our efforts to contact you in a timely manner and hold one or two 15 – 20 minute phone call(s) to help us gather as much information about your claim as we can.

Should we fail to contact you in the first instance, we will make further attempts to contact you over the phone or via your preferred method of contact within reason.  However, if you do not return our calls or text messages, we will assume you no longer wish for us to follow up your enquiry.

Purpose:

For us to establish whether there is enough merit in your case for a potential claim and for you to gain a thorough understanding about how we operate.

What’s next:

If you decide to engage our services, you must sign and return the documentation in our Client Pack.

Timescales:

We aim to complete this stage within 1 week of your enquiry.

STAGE 2: Obtaining the required information.

What you can expect from us:

Following receipt of your contract engaging our services, the Financial Services Analyst will upload the details of your case onto our CRM system. At this point, they may contact you again to obtain any missing details around the circumstances of your case.

Once this is done, you will be assigned a personal Case Manager who will call you to introduce themselves and welcome you to Money and Me Solicitors. They will be your first point of contact throughout your client journey and it is their job to manage the processing of your case and keep you updated with progress reports.

During the call they will provide you with a list of documents we need from you to enable us to start building your case.

What we require of you:

  1. To provide information such as policy numbers if you have them.
  2. To send us a copy of your: 
  3. Valid photo I.D. (passport or driver’s licence)
  4. Proof of residency (utility bill or a bank statement no more than 3 months’ old or a current Council Tax Bill).

We advise you to send copies of these documents electronically, but if you prefer to send us hard copies, we will provide you with an addressed envelope. We recommend that you send these documents via recorded/special delivery and we will do the same when returning them to you.

  • To sign the digital pre-populated ‘Letters of Authority’ (LOAs) that we email you; or if a product provider will not accept a digital signature, sign a hard copy of our LOA which we will post out to you for you to sign and post back to us promptly.

Optional: it would be very helpful if you could forward any of the following (if you have them):

  • The ‘Reason Why’ and/or ‘Suitability’ letter provided by your financial adviser.
  • Any documentation that helps us identify the companies involved.
  • Any application forms, analysis reports, or signed declarations.

Purpose:

Along with the information you provide, the LOAs enable us to obtain information relevant to your case from third parties. It is critical that we obtain as much information as possible, so we can thoroughly research your case.

Upon receipt of your completed LOAs, we aim to obtain third party information within 30 days.

Occasionally, a third party will deploy ‘delay tactics’, for example, by asking you to confirm you have given your permission for the information to be released. If this happens, we may ask you to contact them personally as soon as possible to confirm they can deal with us directly.

Timescales:

We aim to complete this stage within 6 weeks of your enquiry.

STAGE 3:   Assessing your information

What you can expect from us:

Once we have received and assessed all the information that you and any third party have provided, we will be in a position to confirm the merits of your claim. Assuming this is the case, we will pass your details to our specialist Claims Team, who will generate a personalised ‘Claim Advice Report’ estimating your losses and confirming which parties could be pursued for compensation.  

If we are unable to establish the merits of your claim, or there is insufficient loss, we will inform you in writing as soon as we are able and offer further guidance where possible.

What we require of you:

Patience. Pension cases in particular, are often very complex and the amount of information we need to assess is substantial. We hope therefore that you will appreciate it takes time to research the evidence for your case.

Purpose:

To research and document strong evidence for your case, which will give your claim the maximum chance of success.

Timescales:

We aim to complete this stage within 8 weeks of your enquiry.

STAGE 4:  Your Questionnaire and further requests for information

What you can expect from us:

As we continue to put your case together, we will usually make further requests for information to complete any missing details we require to strengthen your case. We may also ask you to complete a simple questionnaire over the phone, a copy of which will eventually accompany your complaint letter when your claim is submitted to the relevant body or company.

What we require of you:

Your Case Manager will contact you to arrange a convenient time for your ‘questionnaire’ call at a time that is convenient for you. Please make yourself available so as not to delay the progress of your claim. Note, if we identify a need for additional documentation during the call, please forward it to us promptly.

Purpose:

To confirm and expand on matters relevant to your situation, including your income, financial standing, attitude to risk, your motivation for investing, details around the advice given and any other important facts that will help our Claims Team construct an accurate and cogent legal argument.

To determine whether we should claim against a compensation awarding body or whether we should bring a claim directly against a company or individual that is still trading with the intention to consider with you court proceedings if the company or individual rejects your claim initially.

STAGE 5:   Constructing your legal argument

What you can expect from us:

We will thoroughly examine your files and documents to analyse the financial advice you received in relation to the regulatory guidelines applicable at the time. This will enable us to construct your legal argument to submit to the relevant compensation body, company or individual. Once complete, we will send you the legal argument via email, using our secure online portal. If it is decided that court proceedings are appropriate, we will prepare the legal argument to be presented as the basis for your ‘Particulars of Claim’ in such court action.

What we require of you:

To review the legal argument and confirm your approval (or otherwise) within 3 days. Note, if you do not respond within 7 days the ‘link’ to our Portal will expire, causing unnecessary delays.  

Purpose:

To ensure that we avoid unnecessary delays and your claim is as comprehensive as possible.

Timescales:

We aim to complete this stage within 16 weeks of your enquiry.

STAGE 6:   Submitting your claim

What you can expect from us:

We will prepare (and where possible pre-populate) a full pack of documents, including application forms, the completed questionnaire, the legal argument and any additional LOAs required and post or email these to you.

What we require of you:

To review the documents, SIGN AND DATE where indicated and then return them (in the envelope provided) as soon as possible, preferably within 7 days of receiving them; or, where and when applicable, give us your written consent to sign them on your behalf. 

Purpose:

To present your full claim to the ‘relevant’ company (or individual) who mis-advised you; or to the ‘relevant’ damages awarding body such as the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), or The Pensions Ombudsman (TPO).

Timescales:

We aim to complete this stage within 17 weeks of your enquiry.

STAGE 7:    Liaising with the recipient of your claim

What you can expect from us:

We will liaise with the ‘relevant’ company or statutory body periodically to ensure they ‘treat you fairly’ in terms of complying with their own service standards, paying particular attention to stated timescales and the efficient progression of your claim. We will also update you via email, text or by phone call, depending on the complexity of the update. 

What we require of you:

To respond to requests in a timely manner to ensure your claim continues to progress efficiently.  

Timescales:

We aim to obtain a decision for you within the following timescales from when we submit your claim to the relevant body:

  • From the company: 8 weeks**.
  • From the FSCS: 26 weeks or according to their current service standards.
  • From the FOS: Please note the FOS do not work to set timescales and in our experience can take 12-24 months to reach an initial decision.
  • From the courts: the amount of time varies depending on a number of factors on which we will advise as your case progresses. 


**Please note: if a company or individual initially rejects your claim, we will then advise on whether your case will be best served by referral to the Financial Ombudsman Service to fulfil the role of ‘independent adjudicator’; or by mediation; or litigation in the courts where a judge will decide whether or not to uphold your claim. 

STAGE 8:   The (Initial) Decision

What you can expect from us: 

If the initial decision regarding your claim is successful, we will:

  1. Arrange to pay you the damages awarded (minus our fee + VAT) within 3 working days of receiving the funds into our Client Account.
  • Conduct a ‘post damages review’ to check whether the terms and the monetary value of the award are fair. The review will also help us determine whether:
  • the award is an ‘interim’ payment – with the potential for further damages. 
  • the award is a ‘full and final’ settlement – and what that means to you.
  • there are further legitimate claims to pursue.
  • Obtain your feedback on your claims experience with us and if you are happy to provide one, request a testimonial from you.    

What we require of you: 

To facilitate prompt payment please ensure we have up-to-date copies of:  

  • A recent bank statement. 
  • Photo I.D.

In the event that the initial decision regarding your claim is unsuccessful: we will notify you and explain why this is the case and discuss alternative courses of action, such as an appeal to the relevant body, or litigation through the courts against the individual or company.

IMPORTANT NOTES: 

  • Our calls are recorded for quality control purposes and to evidence we are treating you fairly throughout your claim journey.
  • At the time of publishing this document (May 2021) the FSCS applies a limit of £85,000 in damages against each (regulated) firm we claim against.
  • The FSCS issues ‘Soft Closure Letters’ if responses are not forthcoming to its additional information requests. We can avoid these being issued with timely responses.