Television Malta has learned that the decision by the Financial Arbiter about the La Valette Property Fund case is expected to be handed down after summer. There are more than 400 complaints in front of the Financial Arbiter by people demanding compensation after they lost their money following an investment into the financial product which was being managed by Valletta Fund Management.
The long wait by these investors is finally drawing to a close, as they now await the final decision after six years.
The main complaint is that the Bank encouraged investors to buy the financial product because it was considered a low-risk investment. However, they eventually lost their whole investment because they are claiming that BOV risked more than what had been agreed upon.
Arbiter Dr Reno Borg told TVM that the 400 complaints are being considered as a class action suit because they are very similar to one another. Only 40 other complaints about this fund are being heard on an individual basis by the arbiter.
“This is a very complicated case and we already have 33 volumes of evidence. Even the submissions by the respective parties is very detailed. It is a case which has many legal points that need to be decided. We are hoping that after the summer holidays I will be in a position to give my decision,” said Dr Borg.
The Office of the Financial Arbiter was set up around a year ago and began hearing cases around 8 months ago. Dr Borg said that around 500 cases which were considered simple were solved over the phone and with the full co-operation of the financial companies themselves. However, when more complicated cases are involved, when the investment goes into tens of thousands of Euro, his advice for the client who feels he has been taken advantage is that he should be armed to the teeth.
“Someone who is asking for thousands should request specialised assistance in the form of a lawyer or a financial adviser”, said Dr Borg.
It is estimated that in his first year of office, there were 654 formal complaints brought in front of the Financial Arbiter.
“The bulk of the complaints concern investments. Poeple who say that when they invested their money they were either not well-advised or the product was not suitable for them, were either not told of the possible risks or were given different information to what should have been given,” said Dr Borg.
The Financial Arbiter to date has handed down 68 decisuons however the one which will affect the most people has to wait until after summer.