Sir David Foskett has been appointed to chair the independent Re-Review Panel (also known as the Foskett Panel) to reassess the direct and consequential (‘D & C’) losses suffered by victims of the fraud committed at the ‘HBOS Impaired Assets unit based at Reading and Bishopsgate (‘IAR’)’. Sir David is joined on the independent Panel by Philippa Hill and Andrew Hildebrand.
The work of the Panel arises from the conclusions of Sir Ross Cranston’s report, known as ‘The Cranston Review’, published in December 2019. The Cranston Review concluded that the way Lloyds Bank had dealt with D & C claims in its original Customer Review was unsatisfactory and did not achieve the purpose of delivering fair and reasonable offers of compensation. He recommended that the process of assessing direct and consequential losses should be carried out again, but this time in a fair and proper manner. In a second report, published in April 2020, he suggested how the reassessment exercise might be carried out.
Since our last update at the end of July, our focus has continued to be on advancing the first groups of priority cases, as well as setting up the next priority groups by obtaining and indexing materials available from the Customer Review from the Bank so our teams can start their preliminary work. These groups of cases have been selected taking into account the most serious and urgent customer situations (largely based on health-related issues). We have explained on a number of previous occasions how invidious the task of making these choices is.
To provide a snapshot of our current caseload:
As part of our process, we have also continued to meet with customers (and their professional advisers where they have engaged them) in order to discuss the background to their claims and points arising from their submissions to date. Each meeting has usually been preceded by written questions sent by us or our team to which answers have been provided and the meetings themselves typically have taken a few hours. We have then in most cases followed up on a number of points discussed with further written queries and responses and some sharing of documents, and in some cases, met again with a customer to advance the process further.
Without wishing to repeat what we have said in our previous updates, we are very conscious of the high number of requests for priority that we have received and the need to advance our work as quickly as we reasonably can. We endeavour to strike a balance between progressing individual priority cases and keeping the pipeline of other cases moving in as efficient a way as possible.
We are grateful to those of you who have come forward to let us know about changes in your circumstances and we will continue to do our best to accommodate those in the most urgent need. However, as regrettably we have to repeat, it is simply impossible to accommodate every request no matter how personally sympathetic we are to the circumstances underlying the request.
In our July update, under the paragraph headed ‘Early engagement and co-operation: a plea to Customers and your representatives’, we highlighted the importance of ensuring that everything that a Customer would like us to take into account in arriving at the MTD in their case is brought to our attention in advance of our considering the MTD and not leaving it until after the MTD has been issued. We drew attention to the consequences for the whole process of not doing so.
To help this to be achieved in the future, we have now introduced a preliminary stage into our process so that one of the two new senior lawyers in our legal team, Jonathan Bellamy and David Bradly, will be the key point of contact for the customer and will act as their informal ‘case manager’ for pending cases prior to our personal involvement.
Each will be assigned individually to a particular case (essentially the company or business concerned) and will be responsible for the initial engagement with the individuals interested in that case and their professional advisers where applicable. Jonathan and David are already working on a number of cases, which will help to advance those through to an MTD more quickly once we then become involved. There is no need to contact us or them about when you might hear from them. They will make contact with you when they are ready to do so and we respectfully invite you to remember that, as is the case with the members of the Panel, there is a limit to the number of cases that can be progressed at any one time.
Jonathan and David will be able to discuss what is required to enable us to consider your claim, offer practical suggestions on how your claim may be put together and, early in the information-gathering stage, generally help focus on the relevant material to support your claim (i) to have been a victim of the IAR Fraud, (ii) that you suffered financial loss that you would not otherwise have suffered and (iii) the quantification of any loss caused by the fraud. The purpose, as we have said, is to try to ensure that whatever points you wish to make can be assembled in a helpful way from our point of view so that when we, the Panel, come to consider your case, we are in a position to consider every matter you consider to be relevant in an efficient way.
They will have the same access to us as do our teams, but the purpose of their involvement is to relieve us of some of the time-consuming work we currently have to undertake in addition to considering and producing the written decisions and this may include them responding directly to some of the letters we receive from customers. We would just emphasise that the ultimate decision in any case will still be ours and their involvement will essentially be ‘managerial’, as we have indicated.
We cannot, of course, say what the outcome of any particular claim may be and not every claim may give rise to an award, but we remain committed to giving that claim detailed and fair consideration. We will do so in your case when we are able to consider it.
With the permission of the customer concerned, we would like to share that customer’s unprompted message of gratitude received recently:
“At the outset of the review I think it’s fair to say that there was a certain cynicism among the victims of the fraud. Everyone thought it would be the same old whitewash but you (and of course Sir Ross Cranston) have delivered absolutely everything you promised and finally we can all draw a line under everything and move on with our lives.”
In the meantime, we can only thank you for your continued patience, but may we encourage you, please, to engage constructively and positively with Jonathan and David when they get in touch?
Against the background of this new arrangement, we have drawn up some guidelines on how we will approach challenges to an MTD to which we invite your attention and the attention of any professional advisers you may have.
We are completely aware of the desire of everyone that the Re-Review should be completed as quickly as possible. We share that desire. However, to perform our task properly does take time and the complexities of what we and our teams have to do often only becomes apparent when a Customer has actually been through the process. This point has been made to us by a number of Customers whose cases have been completed. Again with the kind permission of the relevant customer, we share this recent unsolicited observation:
“I know there has been frustration with some people about the time it has taken to reach a conclusion but I for one ... believe that your part of the process has been as fast and efficient as possible given the mind boggling amount of information you have had to familiarise yourselves with ...”
Thank you for your continued patience.
For the FAQ videos referenced in the above update, please click here.
If you have any questions or comments in the meantime, please contact email@example.com.