Client Terms of Business
Section 1: Our Service
We are United Claims Management Ltd (United Claims Management) registered in England and Wales under registered number 08632359. Our Registered Office is at Birch Lea, Hollow Meadows, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, S6 6GH. United Claims Management is regulated by the Claims Management Regulator in respect of regulated claims management activities under authorisation number CRM33416.
United Claims provides a service for mis-sold financial services products including pensions, investments, mortgage endowments and annuities. We examine the advice and service previously provided by your Financial Adviser (FA) to ascertain whether you were correctly advised with regard to any one or more of these transactions.
Once we have received your completed and signed pre-contract and fact find document we will carry out an initial assessment based upon your responses and consider if it is in your best interests to pursue a claim. We will also assess whether any alternative routes would be better for you such as contacting the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) or Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) directly or instructing a solicitor. We will record our assessment decision and advise you of this in writing.
If you decide to instruct us to pursue your claim we will ask you to review and sign this document and will provide you with blank letters of authority to sign so that we may contact your FA, previous pension provider and new pension provider on your behalf. We may also contact your new employer’s pension scheme, if applicable, to ascertain if a transfer to that scheme would be possible.
You will have a ‘cooling off’ period of fourteen (14) days from signing these terms and conditions in which you can cancel the agreement with us without any charge.
After the “cooling off” period has expired, we will carry out a full assessment of the viability of your claim by asking you to provide us with any documentation that you have in respect of the pension transfer, asking you detailed questions regarding the transfer of your pension and examining the information and documents obtained from your FA and pension providers using your letter of authority.
We will advise you in writing of our findings, suggested next steps and proposed approach to your claim. Typical approaches we may consider taking are as follows:
If we believe that you were wrongly advised in relation to your pension we will submit a letter of claim to your FA.
Where your claim is rejected by your FA we may submit it to the FOS for consideration if we believe this is the best course of action. We will assess this and advise you of this submission before we go ahead with this.
If your FA no longer exists we will seek to submit your claim to the FSCS or to the FA’s professional indemnity insurer.
We will keep you informed of the progress of your claim at all times and will consult with you before taking any steps in relation to your claim.
If an offer of compensation is made, we will assess this offer, benchmark it against any available and relevant industry guidelines in respect of compensation payments (including guidelines published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and/or the FOS (the Guidelines)) and provide you with a recommendation as to whether to accept it or not.
We will then provide you with an invoice for our services based on our Success Fee as shown in Section 3.5 of these terms and conditions.
Section 2: Your Obligations
You will, by signing the letter of authority we provide to you, appoint us as your agent so that we can liaise with parties that we feel integral to your claim.
You must ensure that you always supply truthful, complete and accurate information.
You must forward any correspondence which you receive regarding your claim to us and you must provide us with any and all information and documents which are relevant to your claim, and which you possess. We will rely upon the responses and documentation you provide to assist us with our assessment of your claim and the best way to pursue it.
You must promptly reply to any requests for further information and documents we make with as much detail as possible.
You must promptly pay our fees in accordance with Section 3 below.
Whilst providing services to you we will control and process data relating to you for legal, administrative and management purposes and you consent to this and in particular to the processing of any of your sensitive personal data (as defined in the Data Protection Act 1998). We are registered as a Data Controller under the Data Protection Act 1998 with the Information Commissioner’s Office under registration number ZA016402. We will in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 follow strict security procedures in the storage and disclosure of your data.
Section 3: Our Fees
If we are not successful in securing an offer of compensation for you, you will not have to pay any fee to us.
If we are successful in securing an offer of compensation for you, we will review the offer, benchmark the offer against industry guidelines (including the Guidelines) and make a recommendation to you as to whether we consider it in your best interests to accept or reject the offer.
If we recommend that you reject the offer of compensation, if:
you agree with our recommendation, we will attempt to re-negotiate an alternative offer of compensation for you, and a Success Fee will then be payable should you receive an alternative offer which we recommend that you accept; or
you disagree with our recommendation and you decide to accept the offer of compensation, our Success Fee becomes due.
If we recommend that you accept the offer of compensation, and:
you agree with our recommendation and you decide to accept the offer of compensation, our Success Fee becomes due; or
you disagree with our recommendation and you decide to reject the offer of compensation, our Success Fee becomes due.
Our success fee is equal to 15% + VAT (i.e. 18%) of any compensation received.
You should be aware that compensation means financial benefit which you receive as a result of our service whether this is attributed to your pension fund or paid to you in cash.
Your compensation will be paid direct into our client account. We will then pay to you the balance of your compensation after our fees have been deducted. This can be done by BACS or by cheque immediately when we receive it.
Illustrative examples of how our Success Fee will be calculated:
If you receive an offer of compensation of £20,000 and we recommend that you reject this offer, but you decide to accept the offer, we will charge you £3,000 + VAT (i.e. £3,600), leaving you with £16,400.
If you receive an offer of a contribution to your pension scheme of £30,000 and we recommend that you accept that offer and you agree to accept this offer, we will charge you a Success Fee of £4,500 + VAT (i.e. £5,400). You will receive a contribution to your pension scheme of £30,000 and you will be liable to pay us the Success Fee of £4,500 + VAT (£5,400).
If you receive an offer of compensation of £50,000 and we recommend that you accept that offer and you disagree, you will not receive the compensation and we will charge you £7,500 + VAT (£9,000).
We may also make charges in the event that you terminate your contract after the 14 day cooling off period. Please see section 4 below.
Section 4: Cancellation
If you decide that you do not want to proceed with our services you can cancel your contract by clearly notifying us at any time.
If you cancel during the first 14 days after you sign this agreement you will not have to pay any fee to us.
If this agreement is cancelled after the fourteen day cooling off period but before an offer is made, by either you (in accordance with clause 4.1) or us (in accordance with clause 4.3), we will charge you the value of the work that we have undertaken up to the point that you cancel, at a charge of £100 + VAT per hour for the Director and the Senior Pensions Consultant and £50 + VAT per hour for the Administrator.
Once we have sent your claim to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme or Financial Ombudsman Service, and you subsequently withdraw your instructions for us to act on your behalf our fee of 15% + VAT will nevertheless become payable in the event of a successful claim. Payment will be due within 14 days of receiving your Compensation.
Section 5: Complaints
We hope that you will be very pleased with the service that we provide but in the unlikely event that you have a complaint please ask for a copy of our complaints procedure.
We will acknowledge your complaint within five days and will seek to provide a full response within four weeks. If we are unable to do so we will send you a holding response and issue a final response within eight weeks of your initial complaint.
If you are not satisfied with the handling of your complaint, or we do not respond within eight weeks you may refer the matter to the Legal Ombudsman.
Section 6: Other Important Information
You are entitled to seek further advice in relation to your claim and to consider what services might be most appropriate to your claim for compensation. We will advise you after both our initial and full assessment of whether any alternative methods would be more appropriate for pursuing your claim. In particular you have the right to shop around and you should be aware of the free services provided by the Financial Ombudsman Service.
The provisions of the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999 are excluded from this agreement which means that only you have and we have any rights under this agreement. However, we can assign our rights and responsibilities in this agreement provided that the person we assign it to agrees to provide the same services to you in accordance with this agreement. We will write to you before any assignment is made to ensure that you are aware that it is happening. You have the option to cancel this agreement without charge in these circumstances.
Our service and your potential claim are personal to you, and for this reason you are not able to assign this agreement to any other person.
Our service does not include progressing any matter to civil court proceedings although you should be aware that this is an option that you are entitled to pursue in the recovery of compensation should the pursuit of a claim with us be unsuccessful.