Alliance Trust Savings has been ordered to pay a client nearly £6,000 in compensation for mishandling the transfer of his dealing account and Sipp from another provider.
The client, Mr M, wanted to transfer his portfolios onto ATS before the EU referendum on 23 June 2016. But the transfer into the new Sipp at ATS did not fully complete until mid-July.
There were three problems with the transfer process that were highlighted to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Mr M sold some shares from his Isa on 13 June 2016 for around £19,000. However, due to an error by ATS his account was credited with £1.9m for three weeks. ATS accepted this error.
Mr M also wanted to buy three stocks before the referendum, however he was only able to buy these on 18 July 2016.
ATS also duplicated six share sales. It accepted the error and offered to compensate for the extra charges and price changes Mr M suffered, however the client did not see evidence of the corrections being made.
A FOS investigator contacted ATS several times to get its view and evidence of what had happened. According to the FOS decision ATS promised to reply but failed to do so.
The investigator recommended ATS pay compensation of £5,812 for the delayed purchase of the three stocks.
That figure was initially calculated by the client, using the date of 4 July as when he should have been able to buy the shares. He calculated the difference in price between 4 July and 18 July cost him £5,812.
Ombudsman Louise Bardell contacted ATS for another opportunity to comment, however the decision says ATS did not say anything about the complaint.
Bardell upheld the complaint, saying: “It’s unfortunate I don’t have a business file from ATS. But I’m satisfied that ATS has been given repeated opportunities to provide its evidence and hasn’t done so.”
The FOS relied on evidence from the client, the firm that Mr M was transferring his portfolio from, and also letters from ATS to Mr M in response to his complaint.
Bardell says the delays and poor communication from ATS have “clearly been frustrating” for Mr M.
She says: “He has had to chase many times and the problems have caused him to lose faith in ATS’s control systems.”
She says ATS offered compensation in the form of refund charges of £180 plus VAT for the inconvenience.
As well as the monetary compensation, Bardell says ATS should correct his account to show the correct sale amount on the correct date in relation to the sale of Isa shares.
She says interest of 8 per cent per year from 18 July 2016 should be added to the £5,812 compensation until the date of settlement to account for Mr M being deprived of using this money from the transaction date.
She says if ATS has not already refunded the charges from the duplicated share sales then it should also add 8 per cent interest per year from the date of the share purchases to the date of settlement.
ATS platform proposition head Sara Wilson says: “We’re sorry that our service levels fell below our expected standards on this occasion.
“As a business we aim to give the best customer service possible and we are always disappointed to learn that a customer is dissatisfied with us. We take all complaints very seriously and will address the concerns raised to improve our service in future.”