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Latest information for customers affected by The Will Writing Company

2nd May 2024

An update for customers affected by Philips Trust Corporation

We remain deeply saddened by what has happened to customers of Philips Trust Corporation and the impact it is having on some current and former Members and their families. 

As confirmed in the Society’s recent AGM, we are monitoring the evolving situation very closely and our position is under active review.

We are aware that some other building societies have announced a voluntary financial support initiative to help their customers who were affected by the collapse of Philips Trust Corporation. We are working with these other societies, as well as the Building Society Association and other parties, to understand more. 

This remains a complex and unique issue, but as a purpose-led, member-owned organisation we are focused on offering support where appropriate and in consideration of the interests of our wider membership.  

We hope to provide further details about our position within the next few weeks.

Please note: there is no action required by customers at this time. We will contact affected customers directly as soon as we have further details to share.

What is the background to this situation?

Between 2013 and 2018 Saffron Building Society introduced some Members to The Will Writing Company (WWC) because the Society felt it was important for Members to be aware of their options for later life planning. 

Any advice given to customers by WWC or Family Trust Corporation (FTC) was provided independently and was entirely separate from the Society and wasn’t shared with us.

The Estate Planning Group (EPG) which included the WWC and FTC, went into administration in 2018, after which Philips Trust Corporation became the trustee of some trusts belonging to a small number of customers originally referred by the societies. 

Saffron Building Society never had a relationship with Philips Trust Corporation. Nor was it involved in the transfer of trusteeship to them, any agreements customers entered into with Philips Trust Corporation or any decisions taken by Philips Trust Corporation. 

What happened to the funds?

The Philips Trust Corporation entered administration in 2022. Kroll is now the administrator of Philips Trust Corporation. The administration process has identified that the investments were moved into very different investments than their original high-quality investments.

It has become evident that some members have incurred losses as a result. Others have incurred considerable costs and inconvenience as they have sought to regain control of properties held in trust by PTC.  

The Society will of course provide any support to the authorities on any investigations into this matter.

What is our approach?

While Saffron Building Society does not have any legal or regulatory liability for what has ultimately happened, we are working alongside other building societies, the Building Societies Association (BSA) and Kroll to understand how we can support affected customers while balancing the interests of our wider membership.

What about other building societies’ approaches?

On 2nd May 2024, three larger societies announced a voluntary financial support initiative for affected customers. The finer details of this initiative are still being worked through, and we are monitoring the process closely. 

Our response is under active review. The situation is complex and unique and involves many different parties. Please bear with us for this short time - the Society is focused on offering support where appropriate and in consideration of the interests of our wider membership, and we hope to be able to provide further details on our position in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, you can read the BSA’s announcement here: https://www.bsa.org.uk/media-centre/press-releases/bsa-welcomes-voluntary-support-that-societies-are-providing-to-members-impacted-by-the-collapse-of-t

 

An update from the FCA on the Philips Trust Corporation can be found here: https://www.fca.org.uk/news/news-stories/update-consumers-philips-trust-corporation

For further help and support, the FCA have also published details of various support agencies here:

https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/documents/organisations-offering-emotional-support-practical-help.pdf