Stuart Wall v The Royal Bank of Scotland Plc
In what was one of the largest financial mis-selling claims of its time Hausfeld acted for Stuart Wall, the owner of Opal Property Group, one of the largest private student accommodation providers in the UK.
Opal entered into administration in 2013 and Mr Wall issued proceedings against RBS as an assignee of its claims, valued at around £700 million.
RBS assisted Opal with raising funds for additional ventures by advising on a proposed commercial mortgage-backed securitisation, including the sale to Opal by RBS of a complex interest rate hedging swap to use as a ‘pre-hedge’ for the securitisation.
The securitisation was later abandoned due to the impact of the financial crisis, but the interest rate swap remained in place. Over the following six years the swap cost Opal over £150 million and, Mr Wall alleged, caused the business to fail.
Mr Wall alleged that the swap was mis-sold and that, once the securitisation was abandoned, RBS improperly failed to cancel the swap in accordance with a mandatory termination clause in the contract. He also made allegations about RBS’s conduct following the transfer of Opal’s business to RBS’s notorious Global Restructuring Group (the bank’s turnaround division). Mr Wall also made allegations in respect of RBS’s manipulation of LIBOR interest rate benchmarks.
Mr Wall instructed Hausfeld at the beginning of 2016. The claim, which raised several highly complex factual issues and legal challenges, required Hausfeld’s legal team to undertake a large disclosure exercise and collate extensive factual and expert evidence in support of Mr Wall’s claims. The claim was settled on confidential terms in the summer of 2017, less than two months before a 12-week trial was due to be heard in the High Court.
Stuart Wall, one of the largest financial mis-selling claims of its time, was featured by The Lawyer in its Top 20 Litigation for 2017.The Lawyer