A retired IFA says the Financial Ombudsman Service is “wrecking his life” after taking more than 18 months to rule on a complaint on advice given more than 25 years ago.
In 2011, sole trader Phillip Griffin, 75, received a complaint about a pension transfer made in the late 1980s for around £60,000.
He transferred two clients from their company pension scheme with mining company Cleveland Potash to a Scottish Life fund.
Griffin says the clients approached him because they expected the company to go bust, which has not been the case.
The complainants have complained that the company scheme is outperforming the Scottish Life scheme.
To help Griffin’s case, Whitby Gazette reporter Sheila Witton, who worked in the area in the late 1980s, provided him with a letter in September 2012 saying Cleveland Potash was on the “verge of closing” on a number of occasions, putting the pension scheme at risk.
Witton added workers would have been “very worried” about the security of their jobs.”
Claims firm Money & Me referred the claim to the FOS in July 2012. The FOS upheld the complaint, which Griffin appealed. He is still waiting for a decision.
Griffin has been refused a personal hearing with the FOS on the basis the complaint dates back 25 years.
Foreign secretary William Hague, Griffin’s MP, has appealed on his behalf without success.
Griffin says: “There is no timeframe for a response. They are wrecking our lives. I am 75 and have run a business without complaints for 30 years.
“Every IFA in the country is living under the sword of Damocles where anyone can make a complaint about anything and you have to respond. It has been severely damaging to my health.”
Facts & Figures Chartered Financial Planners managing director Simon Webster says: “I have huge sympathy for this adviser. The absence of a long-stop is a disgrace.”
In an interview with Money Marketing last year, former FOS chief executive said claims against IFAs could become “very emotional” because of the close relationships involved.
The FOS declined to comment. Money & Me was unavailable for comment.