I am completely indebted to Tom. Without him, I am sure we wouldn’t have won the case.
When I left to go to the States in the 90s, I had my pension in the University’s scheme and I had my mortgage with another provider. That provider suggested that I moved my pension from the university’s scheme to one of their own policies. When Tom took a look at it, he said they really shouldn’t have done it as my attitude to risk was low and this scheme was very risky. I’d effectively lost a lot of money. Thankfully, I’d kept all the paperwork which demonstrated that my attitude to risk was low and that I shouldn’t have been sold this product. We wrote numerous letters over the years to the provider but they weren’t doing anything. Tom suggested I go to the FCA [Financial Conduct Authority]. We eventually went to the Financial Ombudsman. It takes a long time but we ended up winning the case. They recommended the provider should pay us back so that we were in the same financial position as if we had left the money in the University’s scheme.
I am completely indebted to Tom as I would never have thought to do that without him. I was very happy with what we got in the final settlement. They were legally obliged to pay me in the end. They’d been intransigent until they were forced to act.
For things like writing to the Financial Ombudsman Tom and I talked through how we should phrase things, and we went over everything very carefully. I had several phone discussions with the Financial Ombudsman, which went well partly because Tom had prepared me for what they might ask. Without him I am sure we wouldn’t have won the case. He helped me all the way through. As an example, when we finally received the settlement offer Tom helped me go back to them with a substantially amended offer, which didn’t cost the company any extra money, but ultimately helped me avoid paying a lot of unnecessary tax. I was nervous about going back to them and not just accepting their original offer, since it seemed very good to me, but I trusted that Tom knew what he was doing, and he was right.
I was a Professor of Statistics at Leeds University. I do some consultancy work now but as a result of winning the case, I was able to retire three years early. I’d been having a lot of repetitive strain injury problems so retiring was a relief. I wouldn’t have been able to do that without all the finances being sorted out though.
Tom always gets back to me incredibly quickly. I sent him a very brief message that first time I made contact, explaining I needed help, and he was on the phone a few seconds later.
He’s helped with my retirement planning; we’ve done cash flow projections together. I’m paying tax in the UK and the US as I still have a house in the States. We’ve been discussing what to do when I fully retire and how to pay off the mortgages on that. We talk through everything together until we come to a sensible solution. He’s very helpful and comes across as very calm and reassuring although he works very hard.