The BBC has recently reported on an interesting case involving the England and Newcastle United footballing legend Alan Shearer, which places the spotlight upon specialist advisors and their conduct.

Mr Shearer brought a claim against his former financial advisor as well as a pension company, on the basis that the advisor had been ‘careless’ and ‘dishonest’ and the company had breached its regulatory duties- both in relation to a multi-million pound SIPP (a particular type of personal pension plan). At the heart of the case was Shearer’s assertion that he was reliant on the defendants’ expertise and that he and his wife had ‘limited knowledge or experience’ as to investments.

There are certainly strict duties upon professional advisors; there is an expectation that they will utilise their skill to provide their client with tailored advice. They are under a duty to exercise reasonable skill, care and diligence in carrying out their work.

A pension company is also subject to strict regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority (so, for example, it must adhere to a ‘Permitted Investment List’ when deciding where monies for a SIPP should be invested.)

In this case, the parties were able to reach a settlement without the need for a full trial, with the exact details remaining completely confidential.

It is important to take into account the fact that the case was settled without any admissions of liability, and the financial advisor in question emphasised that he had acted in good faith at all times. Nevertheless, the case is a timely reminder both of the issues that can arise, and for professional advisors to inform themselves of their legal obligations.

If you require advice in relation to a professional negligence matter, please do contact our specialist team on 0113 284 5000 to find out how we can help.

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