A financial adviser has criticised the National Employment Savings Trust for the way it has handled retrieving the pension of a dead client.
Peter Stewart Associates director Michael Brown told Money Marketing he has been unable to retrieve the £200 pot of a client who was a postman in his early 50s who died in France.
Brown explains his attempts to help his client’s bereaved family by handling relevant documents related to the pension free of charge has produced nothing so far.
He says his deceased client had a number of policies that were processed and paid out months ago.
This contrasts with Nest’s approach to the matter, which Brown says “could not have been less helpful”.
Brown says Nest’s approach raises several questions about how it deals with death benefits, including how it treats people.
He says: “Nest’s administrators have been inflexible and unhelpful in this very sad case, and the result of this has caused my client’s grieving mother and wider family unnecessary distress, and delays at a time when they are trying to move on with their lives.”
Brown is also critical of how Nest processes documents in sensitive cases. He adds: “Nest was the only company to demand that the death certificate – which was obviously in French due to the client having died in France – be professionally translated.
“When I refused to do this, citing that no other company had demanded that, Nest continued to decline to take the matter further until this has been received.”
Finally Brown makes a specific point that IFAs are not included on Nest’s list of approved certifiers for documents.
He continues: “It is highly distasteful that the IFA community, with its years of professional standards building, experience and understanding of all of the issues inherent in the certification of documents such as those required by Nest, is excluded from a list of acceptable certifiers.
“This is especially the case when it is difficult to see why some of the professions that are acceptable would be considered so, given a lack of knowledge in the subject matter.”
In response Nest’s chief operating officer says Nick Sex says: “We are not able to comment on individual cases, but we will always look to process any claim following a bereavement with the most amount of care and compassion during what is a difficult time. Security checks are in place to protect Nest member funds, and we work with families to help them access any outstanding pension savings.
“Our list of people who can certify documents draws from a wide range of professions which should help ensure the process is as quick as possible. However, we regularly review who we allow to certify and are currently considering whether FCA-verified, independent financial advisers should be on this list.”
Nest adds when it receives a death certificate it needs to be able to confirm it relates to the person in question and to verify the cause of death.
If it is unable to retrieve this information then it requires a translated copy.