Ian Taplin

Ian Taplin

Sector: 
Private Banking Adviser
How I became a Whistleblower: 

I worked at LloydsTSB (LTSB) from 2005-2010 as an Investment Adviser in the Private Bank and Wealth Divisions. LTSB had a sales system which divided their retail customers into segments and thereby segregated their client  bank according to the customers' relative wealth or relative poverty. Each segment had a dedicated sales force with dedicated management and compliance teams, sales incentives and quite often specific products.

From 2007 I complained that this sales system was seemingly producing alarming behaviour amongst the sales teams whom were often mistrustful of each other; and more worringly such a sales system was seemingly producing gross distortions and apparent unfair outcomes for the poorer LTSB customers.

I was ignored. 

Again I raised this issue in 2008, and again I was ignored.

Again in early 2009 I raised this issue with a sales director who then bullied and intimidated me - which the bank admitted.This director was removed from the bank.  

In late 2009 and in April 2010, I submitted formal complaints alleging regulatory and compliance related breaches on issues of staff being abused and LTSB poorer customers being unfairly treated - as a direct result of the client segregation system.

During 2010 senior directors were seemingly working collectively to obstruct me; a regulated FSA registered professional - making legitimate complaints concerning allegations of LTSB abusing their own customers.

My complaints were escalated to the Divisional Directors, Group HR Directors, Group Risk Directors, the CEO, Eric Daniels, the members of the Executive Board and the Chairman, Victor Blank. These  directors received copies of the complaints by registered mail.

No effort to properly investigate my complaints were ever made and each board-level director is seemingly guilty of wilful blindness.

I was dismissed for gross misconduct in August 2010. The bank have never produced the evidence that they have ever properly investigated my formal complaints and I was fired because I refused to drop my legitimate complaints about the distorting effects of the client segregation sales system. 

What happened next: 

Having been unlawfully dismissed, I chose not to seek redress through the UK Employment Tribunal System as this system does not properly protect whistleblowers who are acting in the public interest.

Nor does UK whistleblowing legislation - the Public Interest Disclosure Act - protect whistleblowers in regulated industries that have legal obligations to act in the public interest.

After having been dismissed then followed a 'bizarre' act.

A  senior risk director contacted me after my dismissal and offered to investigate my complaints and in a clumsy fashion offered to settle. This was the third attempt by Lloyds Bank to settle for "commercial considerations" (their words) - with the implied suggestion that I drop my complaints.

Some may interpret these attempts of settlement as a possible example of offering unsuitable inducement on matters of alleged fraud in a regulated industry  - given that Lloyds Bank were seemingly making such offers - in their words - for "commercial considerations".

I have consistently offered to settle with Lloyds Bank but I refuse to drop my complaints.

It is a 'bizarre' action by Lloyds Bank - as when employed I had been refused access to senior risk directors. The divisional directors seemingly refused to allow me access to senior risk directors - which appears to be an unlawful obstruction of a regulated adviser in a regulated firm-making legitimate complaints. 

A meeting was arranged in November 2010 on neutral premises and on my insistence the conversations were recorded. I was accompanied by a witness.

The senior risk  director then undertook to investigate my complaints and wrote to me in December 2010 with a report -claiming investigations had been undertaken and dismissed my complaints.

The evidence shows no such investigations were ever properly undertaken and the apparently misleading claims this senior risk director made in the report I received are currently being investigated by the FSA.

In December 2010 and in early 2011I asked to meet with the group risk directors of the Lloyds Banking Group to share sensitive evidence of apparent senior level misconduct at divisional level and the unfair treatment of LTSB poorer clients .

Both group risk directors refused, in writing, to meet me to view the sensitive evidence.

Subsequent efforts to resolve the dispute in a fair and reasonable  manner have been ignored. In 2011 the CEO, Mr Horta Osorio, the chairman, Sir Winfried Bischoff and the executive board have received the original complaints by registered mail and have completely ignored these complaints; another example of apparent wilful blindness. 

Theresa May is my constituency MP and has been fully supportive of my actions. Theresa has written, on five occasions, to the CEO and chairman and her efforts to ask certain questions have either been ignored or dismissed. Theresa May continues to support me in my efforts to get to the truth of why Lloyds Bank have seemingly treated their poorer clients in an unfair, unlawful and discriminatory manner.

The FSA are currently investigating two formal complaints. I have made two formal presentations to the FSA totalling over five hours of discussions.

In October 2011 I was asked back by the FSA and presented more evidence to a FSA panel.The FSA  are investgating the substantive complaints concerning my allegations that the LTSB sales segregation system has resulted in widespread and nationwide mis-selling to the poorer customers of the bank.

This complaint is not related to the PPI mis-selling and in my honest opinion is emerging as a new mis-selling episode.

It is a conservative but rough estimate that between 250,000 to perhaps 1 million* LTSB customers may have sufficient grounds to make claims against LTSB for mis-selling.

I have advised the FSA, that if they fail to act to protect the poorer LTSB customers whom have been affected I will, in the public interest, work  to alert these LTSB customers that they may have legitimate reasons to make claims for mis-selling.

It is estimated the average payout on successful claims could be  higher than the average PPI payout which is approximately £2300.

The FSA does, I believe, have sufficient evidence to act now and move to enforcement action against Lloyds Bank.

*Sales of Regulated Life products to LTSB retail customers whom were segmented as "mass market"  

What I do now: 

I am a founding member of  Whistleblowers UK (WBUK). WBUK have been  very supportive of my whistleblowing campaign. Without WBUK I would be have been effectively alone and only supported by a small group of family and loyal friends.

WBUK members and supporters have given me renewed hope.There are some outstanding examples of mutual support.

I have met individuals whom are  brave and selfless and whom care about the type of society we live in.

AS WBUK members we share  a deep concern that British based corporations and state insitutions have seemingly shown such disrepect for the law within our parliamentary democracy.   

I have offered to help WBUK in any way I can now and I am committed to help WBUK grow and become an effective advocate for whistleblowers' protection. 

Having been on the receiving end of Lloyds Bank's bullying and intimidation (which they have admitted in writing) I am also working to expose such corporate abuses.

I have no restrictions on what I can lawfully publish concerning apparent senior level misconduct at the Lloyds Banking Group as I was dismissed unlawfully and am not subject to any confidentiality clauses in my employment contract: Lloyds Bank broke the employment contract.

Under UK and US publishing law I can reproduce all correspondence which I received from Lloyds Bank directors who sent such correspondence to my own email account and which I received by post at home and lawfully publish in the public domain, in the public interest.

Provided I am mindful of US* and UK libel and defamation laws, such disclosures of Lloyds Bank directors correspondence to my private addresses are lawful and permissable.

I  have repeatedly warned Lloyds Bank senior directors - past and present - that unless Lloyds Bank take action to properly fulfil their own statutory and regulatory obligations to protect their more vulnerable and poorer clients from apparent corporate abuse I will lawfully disclose the identities of thosedirectors whose correspondence to me is best described as seemingly obstructive, misleading, evasive and intimidatory.

Theresa May MP and her staff have received letters from Lloyds Bank senior directors which give misleading impressions. In addition there appears to be evidence that a senior human resources director attempted to intimidate Theresa May's team -and we were given the impression that this senior HR director was attempting to apply pressure on Theresa May MP to withdraw her support.

Theresa May MP refused to withdraw her support and continues to support my whistleblowing actions. Theresa is  is an outstanding Member of Parliament for the Maidenhead Constituency.

I have my own  website: www.dontbankonlloydsethics.com

Through this website I have been contacted by current and past employees of Lloyds Bank and by other whistleblowers in the UK and from abroad. I have also received correspondence in confidence from ex-employees and clients of  Lloyds Bank who have reported apparent fraud.  

Notes.

*The website is hosted in the USA where freedom of speech principles are stronger than in the UK.

The relevant UK legislation is relevant to my whistlebowing actions:

1.The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

2.The Financial Services Authority (FSA) principles.

3.FSA legal guidelines of "treating customers fairly" and "know your customer."

4.UK insurance law and principles of "utmost good faith."

5.UK Human Rights Act 2000.

6.UK Bribery Act 2010

7.Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. 

POSTED AS COMMENT AND EXPRESSED AS  HONEST OPINION.