For many years Susan and I have trusted in the advice given to us by professional financial advisors. Unfortunately we have been persuaded to take out certain policies which were not in our best interests.
The same can also be said of my mother in law, Margaret Thompson who was advised to take out one of the SAM Mortgages (Shared Appreciation Mortgages) that used to be available through the Bank of Scotland in the late 1990’s. Below is part of a letter of complaint that she wrote in 2003 that describes some of her story.
Feb 1998 (Name of the financial advisor) came to visit me for my annual financial review. I shared my slight concerns regarding how I would continue to pay my mortgage payments once I had retired. At this point in time the financial advisor was aware that I had a considerable amount of savings.
It’s important to say that Margaret had sufficient savings to pay off her entire mortgage.
His advice to me was that there was a new scheme out with the Bank of Scotland, which he advised, would be just right for me.
I explained to him that my primary concern was to leave an inheritance for my three daughters after working so hard all of my life. He explained how the SAM Mortgages worked by me not having to make any more mortgage payments and that the Bank of Scotland would take 25% of the profits when my house was sold + the original mortgage amount.
I repeated this back to him on numerous occasions to make sure that I had fully understood the concept and the percentages involved. He agreed that I had fully understood everything correctly.
The mortgage application forms were completed and he recommended me to see his friend who was a part time solicitor who worked from home to sign the documents (name of solicitor).
I did see her to sign some documents, I was in her home for less than 10 minutes, not at any time did she explain or talk me through the terms of the mortgage.
April 2003 My daughter and son in law were watching BBC Watchdog where various viewers had complained about SAM Mortgages. My daughter telephoned me to inform me that the percentage of profits owed to the Bank of Scotland was 75% and not the 25%, which I had been led to believe by the financial advisor. At this point I was in total shock and decided to complain through the appropriate channels.
A complaint was put forward by Margaret, however no compensation was ever received. There may be some hope for those who were mis-sold SAM Mortgages as there is now a legal challenge against SAM Mortgages confirmed for 2019
I had the privilege of painting several portraits of Margaret before she passed away in 2014 through secondary breast cancer.
Because of my mother in law’s loss and the costly advice Susan and I have received from several financial advisors, we have decided to join Genistar, a financial education company. Our mission is to help families become debt free and financially independent. We do this through education and by involving YOU in the planning process. Instead of advice we offer something better: education to make the right choices.