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Our Stories | Kaupthing Singer & Friedlander Isle of Man (ksfiom) Depositors Action Group

Our Stories

Our Stories

These are the stories of real people who face financial ruin, or at best considerable hardship, as a result of the collapse of Kaupthing, Singer and Friedlander (IoM). These people deposited money with a reputable and highly rated bank for safe keeping and to earn interest. They are not stock market investors who know they can lose when they invest but prudent savers. Most (86%) are British citizens and most (77%) are over 45. 64% of depositors have more than £50,000 at risk. Some of the stories are harrowing; some demonstrate the British "stiff upper lip". Many are understandably angry. Please read them. We welcome your support.

Should I Laugh or Cry

Last week we received the French Tax Bill which consisted of tax and social charges(12%) applied to savings income. We called at the local tax office and explained our position. The answer was 'if you don't pay we will send a couple of reminders adding 15% penalty each time. We will then freeze your bank account until we recover what is owed to us'
Good Luck to them, wish I could do the same.
I have sent emails to several MP's asking for an urgent reply as the whether I will get any assistance with housing if I return to UK to try and find work, have obviously pointed out I am a pensioner.

Another story

Another 'typical' story from a user;

I am 69 years old and recently retired to Australia after 25 arduous, sweaty years working in the Middle East. I decided to retain sizeable proportion of our savings in KS&F (in Sterling and US Dollars) pending a more favourable Australian Dollar exchange rate before repatriating our savings.

We have been with S&F for many years and was happy with their friendly helpful service. I was oblivious to the risks that ensued following the take over by Icelandic banks in fact I thought Kaupthing must be a German outfit.

My naive trust has it seems cost us very dearly along with my traditional beliefs that hard work and careful money management inevitably produces the best results. It's not just the loss of life savings that devastates my wife and I but the knowledge that the spivs and crooks on six figure salaries, who caused this mess, are free to flout our savings and even receive enormous golden handshakes to celebrate our downfall.

I guess our advice for all youngsters is to borrow as much as you can, never worry about repayments and spend as fast as you earn. Forget your future and let future tax payers worry about the cost of your retirement. Alternatively become a banker and legally take possession of the savings accrued by others stupid enough to try and prepare for their retirement.

Gordon Brown will retire on a guaranteed index linked pension paid by the good old UK taxpayer. How can we expect people like him to ever understand the values of self sufficiency and personal responsibility?

YOU GORDON have it in your power to redress this situation !!

1 My Grandfather: was one of the old contemptibles who fought ALL through the 1st world war from day one. Injured twice, gassed three times all in Paschendale/Ypres, died from the gassing in later years at home the sofa.
2 My Father: from a boy fought through the 2nd world war as soon as he was of age in the role of commando, injured and mentally scarred.
3 My Father: built a damn good business in the UK and managed to save despite having to pay 98 pence in the pound during those oh so wonderful socialist days in the UK
4 Myself: in a "military role" cleared mines from Libya through Kuwait and Afghanistan and beyond..... still standing.
5 Myself: also created businesses and work overseas and repatriated the funds to the UK, offshore.
6 All funds recently ended up with KSFIOM.
7 Total Result Of 3 Generations of work, service and loyalty to the UK after scrimping saving and depositing ?? ..... NOTHING. Shafted by the UK Government and have now lost everything.
8. OH! and before you say it's all Iceland's fault YOU GORDON have it in your power to redress this situation !!

A Home Fit For Heroes my A**

Thanks Gordon (Brown) I shall ensure that you are NEVER FORGOTTEN one way or the other.

Life's coincidences

I thought I'd share how the universe clearly wanted to keep reminding me of what has happened to all of us since last Thursday in a series of bizzare coincidences (this is all true but is also meant to be a bit of light hearted relief in this depressing time).

I was in the US last Thursday when I looked at my laptop to see news of Gordon's freezing of Icelandic assets. As soon as I saw that headline I suspected the worst and was proven right when I tried (and failed) to access the KSF IOM website. My first reaction was to ring home (despite the time difference) and, as I looked at my mobile to dial the number, the fist thing I saw was the name of the GPRS provider..'EDGE'. That didn't improve my mood :-) About an hour later, in an attempt to distract myself, I switched on the TV and the first channel that came on was showing a re-run of 'the World's Strongest Man' competition. The first competitor was from Iceland! That soon got switched off. The next day I flew back in to Heathrow to find that the baggage carousel that my bags were due to come up on was being shared by a flight that had landed a few minutes before me...from Reykjavik!!!! I avoided any contact with our Scandinavian pals as I might not have been able to resist a whole number of primeval urges that suddenly surfaced. On Sunday I got an email from an on-line travel provider suggesting I should visit 'the land of geysers and Viking lore' and today I walked in to my local food store to be greated by a big sign advertising a 'special' on.......you probably guessed it...Icelandic Cod! I'm not sure what other quirky irony the universe in going to come up with next but I'm actually beginning to look forward to them...must be my gallows humour! :-)

Keep positive all...we're strongest together and if we don't let our hopes dwindle.

My Total Loss

I have saved with Singer & Friedlander since 2001 before it became KS&F. I recently sold my house and
am currently staying with a friend while I search for a new property. I was in the process of transferring the house funds from KS&F IOM to HSBC (to spread the risk) but was caught in the crash and was unable transfer it in time. So In addition to the loss of my fixed term bond worth several hundred thousand pounds (due to mature in January 2009) and a £20,000 cash account, I have now also lost all the proceeds from my house sale. Everything held with KS&F was the result of 35 years hard work, family inheritance and just now the sale of my house. My money in the bank/s was to be used to fund a reasonable retirement (my pension) .............

I am British born now living in Scotland, a UK resident and a tax payer having returned from working overseas in 2000. I have just taken early retirement and now am entirely financially ruined. At my age and in the current economic climate the prospect of finding any work is bleak to say the least. It is unbelievable to think that within a few months from now (as soon as my remaining funds with HSBC run down) I shall actually be homeless and joining the dole queue and become yet another additional strain on the economy!!

I am writing this at the moment in total disbelief that after years of hard work, planning and saving to fund the later years that it has all been stolen away almost overnight. Like most of you on here I am just an average, hard working person who tried legally to do what was best financially.

I echo what most of you are saying and wonder why our plight has not been picked up and flagged by any of the media. How many of our fellow British citizens are actually aware that their fellow countrymen, taxpayers and neighbors are being ruined or at best have lost all their deposits, not many I suspect.

I can only assume that they have been fed the sound bites and various inferences telling us that 100% of "British savers/savings" will be secure. I fear that just because we banked offshore, the assumption in the public's eyes is that we are all fat cats, super wealthy or tax dodgers. As you will know from your own circumstances this is not the case and far from it. Having read the heart rending stories of average people like myself who only try to work and save hard for the future but now ruined I know our story must get out to the media!

The point must be made and made hard, that we the savers and depositors are just your average, "normal" people who in these days of internet and international banking only put our money into a "safe" and very reputable institution which happened to be offshore yielding competitive interest rates. So where is our crime, what have we done wrong to be shunned, ignored and remain unprotected by the British government?

When the realisation that there are actually thousands of UK resident depositors already losing all their deposits in the Isle of Man what will the repercussions be not just for other IOM banks but also the Channel Island banks and for their entire economies based so heavily on their financial services industry?

If we are to be financially punished for having the temerity to invest our hard earned money in a bank in the UK, albeit offshore, I want to know why. Its time the media got our story out into the public domain and our government acted affirmatively to protect 100% of the deposits held by private British tax paying savers in what was KS&F IOM.

I wish us all good luck I fear we are going to need it.

Despair and bewilderment

We had recently moved to Australia, bringing just enough money to pay for immediate expenses and leaving the rest with Bradford & Bingley. We had to open an offshore current account to transfer our savings via when exchanging for Aussie dollars. KSF (IOM) looked stable, safe and ok so we opened an account with them. We had both worked hard for many years to save and had never been reckless or spendthrift. We'd never had loans and were careful to ensure our Mortgage was well within our means.

Just over a week ago we transfered the money (£161K - our lifes savings) to KSF in preparation of transfering it here using Ozforex.

On wednesday, unaware of the events happening, i phoned KSF to verify that i would be able to Fax a Telegraphic Transfer instruction and to verify my 'Codeword'. KSF confirmed that it would not be a problem and verified my Codeword was correct. I logged in to Ozforex, performed a 'spot deal' for £150K and sent the Telegraphic Transfer fax to KSF.

Then KSF ceased.

When we heard the news we initially went into complete denial. How could this happen? Dont be silly this happens to other people. I even had (i am ashamed to admit) a tinge of 'whew, just made it! Shame about the others'.

However, as the truth became clear and it dawned on me that we had just lost everything, the nausea started. How was i to tell my family? What were we going to do? We're in a new Country and all of a sudden pennyless. Last night was awful. To see real fear in the eyes of people you love most and who depend on you is gut wrenching. I was physically sick. I have lost our future.

As the shear scale of this bank-heist has unfolded, along with the very realisation that we most probably will never see any of that money again, the despair has turned to a numb sadness. I am unable to sleep and now have earplugs in to block out the sound of crying.

But the primary emotion is now fear. Who knows if we will survive this as a familiy. Love can hold people together in the most difficult of circumstances but when it dawns on us that I have single handedly lost everything that we worked so hard to save..... This has destroyed us.

posting on behlaf of fellow depositor

We are UK residents and tax payers, age 56 and 58, from Yorkshire, sold our
business here where we worked 7 days a week and employed over 40 staff,
having paid Income tax, Ni, Vat, Capital Gains etc. We thought we would take
it a bit easier, put £200,00 into the Derbyshire building society, spoke to
the staff there several times before placing the money with them they sent
forms out and explained how safe it was i have proof of that conversation,
100% guaranteed by parent company. Spoke to them on the 16th, 20th and 26
Nov, and they never said that the business was up for sale of that it was in
the process of being sold. They opened us a one year bond with them on the
23rd Nov 2007, and I have it confirmed from the FSc IOM that in fact they had
agreed to sell the business on the 19th Nov 2007. So why were they still
saying it was the Derbyshire and taking monies under that name, and still
actively advertising bonds in Nov. The first we knew about the sale was when
KSF wrote to us in February saying they had our monies and our account, and
terms and conditions remained the same. We were never informed by the
Derbyshire of the sale or given the chance to remove our savings. We would
never have put money with the Derbyshire if they had been honest with us and
said that they were selling out. We have a tax bill due in January of
£71,900 and bills outstanding at the moment of £30,000 and we were relying
on that money to pay these bills. As it is our only source of income. We
wrote to the Derbyhsire, Graham Picken chief exec said, we did not have to
inform you that we were selling out neither did we need your permission. His
letter boiled down to "sorry you are in this mess but it is not my problem".
Like you we are having sleepless nights and just don't know where we will get
the money from to pay the inland revenue and others. We have put our house
up for sale in the hope of being able to raise the money to pay our bills. I
am just debating seeing the doctor as i am only getting 2 hours sleep per
night and all your waking hours are spent worrying, its making us both ill.
It is wrong that the Derbyshire executives will get a 1 million pound pay out
in December when they have left people like us in this situation and the Gov
should stop these fat cat payouts.

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