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Westpoint complaints upheld

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By Madeleine Collins
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2 minute read

FICS has upheld complaints from Westpoint investors.

The Financial Industry Complaints Service (FICS) panel has upheld the first claims from investors who lost money in the Westpoint collapse.

FICS said the three complaints are the first formal determinations in relation to Westpoint and more will follow soon.

The disputes resolution body has ordered the financial services provider involved to pay back the investors, FICS chief executive Alison Maynard said.

"To date FICS has already resolved 32 Westpoint cases through negotiated settlement, worth $1.8 million in total," Maynard said.

FICS has not named the parties involved or the amount of compensation.

FICS received 378 written complaints from consumers since the Westpoint group collapsed in late 2005 owing around 2000 investors $300 million.

Of those, 230 have progressed to investigation and represent $10.6 million in lost consumer funds.

"These results show that FICS is a strong alternative to taking court action. FICS is free to consumers and takes less time to resolve disputes than the alternative of taking legal action," Maynard said.

FICS recently had to reject 27 complaints from Westpoint investors following a decision to strike out joint claims, which usually occur when husband and wife investors seek compensation over the limit of $100,000.

FICS raised its membership fees for financial services licensees by 7.5 per cent this year to cover legal fees and doubtful debts associated with Westpoint.