Pay up, Hargreaves Lansdown tells Standard

Standard Life increased the mortgage-backed securities holdings in its pension sterling fund from 3 per cent in 2004 to over 50 per cent in 2007 without telling clients that its investment strategy had changed.

The revelation comes as HL has written to Standard Life demanding compensation for all its clients who lost money in the pension sterling fund revaluation.

HL says the fund’s literature was “not clear, not fair and demonstrably misleading” and it may take the matter to the FSA.

The fund’s holding in mortgage-backed securities increased from 3 per cent in December 2004 to a peak of 55 per cent in September 2007, falling to 44 per cent in January 2009.

Standard failed to advise investors its investment strategy had changed, continuing to describe the fund as “wholly invested in cash” in marketing literature.

Head of pensions research Tom McPhail says: “We have written to Standard Life on behalf of all our clients and very straightforwardly asked for their money back. We are looking at involving the FSA as well on the basis that the literature is simply not clear, not fair and demonstrably misleading.”

Standard Life has effectively ruled out blanket compensation, which would cost the firm more than £100m. Chief executive Sir Sandy Crombie wrote to advisers last week encouraging those with concerns over literature to complain through the nor- mal channels.

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