Crackdown on tax relief schemes leads to GC hire for Rebus

A company that specialises in tax relief scheme litigation for investors has hired its first general counsel to head up legal action.


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Former Clyde & Co lawyer Alice Poole has joined Rebus Investment Solutions to oversee its caseload of 400 clients taking action to retrieve money from complex investments that they claim were mis-sold.

Rebus specialises in this growing area of law, which has expanded on the back of cases such as ‘Eclipse Film Partners 35’, in which the courts ruled that investors could not claim tax relief following a challenge by HMRC (6 August 2012).

Poole will be co-ordinating hundreds of clients, including some high-profile public figures, against 90 advisers who recommended these schemes.

Most mis-selling claims will go to the Financial Services Ombudsman or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, but some may fall outside the Financial Services Regulatory regime and be litigated through the courts.

Poole has experience in litigation and legal risk management from more recent spells in-house with consultancy business Watson Wyatt (now Towers Watson) and insurance broker Jardine Lloyd Thompson on the defendant side, specialising in dispute resolution and commercial contracts.

Previously, Rebus has instructed external law firms for litigation, but part of Poole’s remit will also be to consider setting up an ABS to enable the company to expand its legal practice and do more of the work in-house.

Poole said: “This is an extremely exciting opportunity in a niche and highly complex area where we’re using the claims management model to build a sophisticated business that can handle complex mis-selling cases through FOS and, if necessary, litigation.

“The possibility of setting up an alternative business structure under the Legal Services Act to help us achieve our goals is currently being considered”

Alastair McEwan, managing director at Rebus, said: “At Rebus we pride ourselves on our market knowledge and, having now recruited a number of people who have litigation experience we’re well equipped to expand into the legal services market and we know that our clients will value this unique insight.

“We’re seeing a huge increase in enquiries, fuelled in part by the increasing political will to identify and address investment schemes that are deemed aggressive, and Alice’s appointment reflects the ever-increasing requirement for legal expertise in this area.”