MPs have pledged to help scores of elderly Barclays clients who have lost hundreds of thousands of pounds, which they blame on poor advice from the bank.
Over 80 former Barclays clients gathered at Westminster on Tuesday to protest to MPs about their losses after Barclays salespeople advised them to invest in the Aviva global balanced income fund.
In April last year, Money Marketing revealed that Barclays advised cautious clients approaching or in retirement to transfer their long-term savings into the single specialist fund.
The value of the fund almost halved in the 12 months to March 2009. The bank admitted it erroneously categorised the fund as balanced rather than adventurous between July and November 2007.
Conservative MP for Wimbledon Stephen Hammond chaired the meeting in the House of Commons after a constituent, Lona Fudge, lost half of her £108,000 investment in the fund.
Fudge said: “I invested £108,000 in 2006 and by February 2009 my investment was worth just £54,000, even though I told Barclays I did not want to risk my capital. Barclays has made me a poor pensioner.”
She says Barclays offered her £36,100 in compensation but she has rejected the offer and now has a complaint with the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Many investors have been waiting for over a year for their complaints to go through the FOS and Barclays has, in some cases, refused to accept decisions from adjudicators, which lengthens the process further.
Hammond urged investors who have lost money because of Barclays’ advice to invest in the Aviva fund to contact their MP.
Other MPs who attended the meeting included Conservative MP for Daventry Chris Heaton-Harris and Conservative MP for mid-Norfolk George Freeman.
Heaton-Harris told investors MPs will raise the issue in the Commons.
He said: “Barclays is trying to settle a lot of complaints outside of the judicial process, which suggests it has a reason to do so. Hopefully, with a joint effort from a number of MPs, we will be able to do something about it.”
No one from Barclays attended the meeting but a spokesman says: “It is clearly evident that in some instances relating to these funds, we have failed to meet the high standards that our customers expect from us.”