Email from Niall Coburn to Guernsey Bailiff, in response to the Manita Khuller judgment:
Dear Bailiff Collas,
I write to you as former Head of Enforcement and regulator and lawyer who has worked internationally and attended the Trial of Manita Khuller vs FNB Trustees on the 18-21st of November.
As a Barrister of 30 years, I am totally ashamed at this unfair judgment which not only misrepresents the facts as disclosed in court but actually failed to provide an analysis of the case competently as presented; where ample evidence was provided of FNB’s gross negligence .
The court completely failed to identify that FNB appointed and retained an unlicensed and unqualified adviser (PPI Advisory) without the most basic of checks such as licensing and regulation.
This is despite the evidence presented in the form of letters, investor alerts and emails from the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission.
FNB Trustees failed to respect Ms Khuller’s investment risk profile and with a “quick glance” doomed her pension savings to known failures of a major fund such as LMMPF.
It was clearly shown during trial that the LMMPF was not only unregulated but also “unregistered” and this was in the Fund prospectus that FNB had from the outset. It‘s was not a case of “hindsight” at all.
Matching fund risks to those of the investor investment profile is the most basic of due diligence that FNB did not do, and this is gross negligence that was causative of the loss. These were not funds meant for retail investors, which Ms Khuller is.
The causation is clear from then onwards.
The evidence displayed is that FNB was grossly negligent as a regulated trustee and fiduciary and that you very well know but you chose to “protect your turf”.
This is a totally incompetent decision of the highest order and I know that you will all not sleep well in its delivery.
Clearly, you put the implications for Guernsey before Ms Khuller, who was wronged by FNB.
There is no justice in Guernsey, but men protecting secrets.
So what is this about?
In a blog last week, I wrote about the impending court case brought by Manita Khuller in the Guernsey Courts of Justice.
Manita lost her case . She is considering an appeal. The verdict is a personal tragedy for Manita , but it casts a long shadow over the role of Trustees in Guernsey and what Guernsey means by Fiduciary Duties.
So what do we mean by Fiduciary Duties?
Australia has brought in their version of America’s “Fiduciary Rule” and introduced a “best interests duty”. One commentator explains that this falls into three parts.
“A duty to act in the client’s best interests, a duty to provide advice that is appropriate, and a duty to prioritise the client’s interests in the event of a conflict”.
There are similar principle-based rules in Canada – and here in the UK we have the FCA’s cover- all “treat the customer fairly“.
Guernsey has a “fiduciary standard“. Clearly that standard isn’t high enough.
Help for journalists
I know a lot of journalists read my blog and like to follow up.
For more information: Contact Manita Khuller on 077955 7067 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
August 2018 Mail on Sunday article about Manita’s court battle:
Bailiwick Express article, August 2019:
Henry Tapper piece, November 2019:
International Adviser story, November:
Recent case in Cyprus where the courts also ruled against investors, stunning many observers, and causing many to suggest that the courts were worried about setting a costly precedent that could harm local financial institutions:
Bloomberg article about “going to court without a lawyer is new normal for U.S. litigants”
Talk of Guernsey plans for “new fiduciary handbook and revised pension rules”, suggesting awareness of need for improvements