Old Mutual Wealth-owned Intrinsic Financial Planning must compensate a client after it wrongly recorded some personal information on a suitability letter and sent him a pension transfer form with someone else’s details on it.
The client was advised by an Intrinsic adviser to move his pension to another platform in 2015. He was told there would be an ongoing charge.
However, when Intrinsic sent the client the suitability letter it contained errors, including not recording his job, salary and dependent information correctly. He was also sent a pension transfer form with another person’s details on it.
According to a Financial Ombudsman Service decision, this led to the client, Mr W, losing confidence in his adviser and so he complained to Intrinsic about the errors, as well as the fact his charge had increased.
Intrinsic apologised for the administration errors but said the charge was clearly set out and accepted by the client.
It offered to refund the charges the client had paid to that point, which amounted to £1,259.74. It told Mr W that to stop the ongoing charge he would have to contact his platform provider directly.
A FOS investigator upheld the complaint and said the offer of payment was reasonable. However, the investigator said the client had been sent a letter from the adviser which said he had removed himself from the plan and there would be no additional ongoing charges.
The investigator said Mr W had paid additional charges so she recommended Intrinsic paid these back with interest.
Mr W did not accept the investigator’s view and said he now needs to find a new pension provider, which caused him a lot of inconvenience.
In the final decision, ombudsman Charlotte Wilson agreed the compensation amount was fair. However, she said changing pension providers is Mr W’s choice to make.
The decision says: “Although mistakes have been made and I can understand why he’s upset, I don’t think this means he’d have to change his pension provider. And I’ve not seen anything to suggest his pension was affected by the mistakes in the correspondence.”
Wilson said it was understandable Mr W did not contact his pension provider after he received the letter from the adviser saying he had stopped the ongoing charge.
The decision says: “If he hadn’t received this letter I think it’s likely he would’ve contacted his pension provider to remove the advisor. As such, he wouldn’t have paid the subsequent ongoing charges. The letter was sent on 31 October 2016, so I think it’s reasonable for Intrinsic to refund Mr W the ongoing charges incurred after 31 October 2016 with interest.”
A spokesman for Intrinsic says: “Intrinsic is focused on ensuring good customer outcomes and delivering the highest level of service to clients. The network acknowledges that in this case human error means we did not meet the high standards we set for ourselves.”
He adds: “Accordingly, we apologised in full to the affected customer and offered appropriate compensation by waiving charges, which was accepted and deemed as fair in the ombudsman’s ruling.”