This morning UK entrepreneur Sir Keith Mills published a letter urging fellow Coutts clients to lobby the bank for compensation after it allegedly recommended investing in AIG’s troubled £6bn (€6.4bn) money-market fund. The letter in full is published below.
An open letter to Coutts customers
19th December 2008
Dear fellow Coutts customer,
If you are a Coutts customer and, like me, have been caught up in the problems with AIG Life Premier Bonds, I would like to draw your attention to a new website, the address of which is below.
I have set this website up to bring together Coutts customers in a combined action against Coutts & Co.
This is the reason why.
Coutts recommended to me, and I assume many other customers, that I place my money in AIG Life Premier Bonds as a way of protecting my capital. They also said it would be a safe alternative to bank deposits and earn a slightly better interest rate.
Coutts said my money would be safe as AIG was the largest insurance company in the world, AA rated, and that the bonds provided instant access to my money, just like a deposit account.
Later, given the negative press reports about the future of AIG, I queried with Coutts, in writing, the safety of keeping my money with AIG, as I assume others did, but they replied that they did not have concerns about these bonds, so I retained them.
Then, this September, payouts from the bonds were frozen.
Bondholders now have been forced to accept two choices.
Firstly, if we try to withdraw our cash now, we face the prospect of losing large sums of money. Or, secondly, we have our money tied up with AIG for three and a half years, with no certainty that our money will ever be returned, and little prospect of earning any additional interest.
This is why I have set up The Coutts AIG Action Group. To look at how all Coutts customers who have similar grievances against Coutts – regarding holdings of AIG Life Premier Bonds – may be able to hold Coutts to account and obtain fair compensation from them.
I urge you to visit the website – your information will be kept confidential.
Sir Keith Mills