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SJP client wins redress over ongoing advice charges

SJP ups compensation for client after she struggles to get hold of adviser despite paying ongoing fees

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A client of St James’s Place has won redress after complaining she was charged for ongoing advice but had only met her adviser twice in five years.

Sue Preece-Murray told The Sunday Times that ongoing advice charges from her £300,000 investment with SJP had added up to more than £6,000 since she became a client in 2012, but she had rarely been able to contact her adviser.

Preece-Murray says she was often informed her adviser was on holiday and she offered to drive 200 miles to make a meeting easier.

She was offered £1,900 in compensation in March as SJP acknowledged its service had “not been what we would expect”. When she rejected the offer, SJP revised the payment up to £5,000 last month.

Preece-Murray expressed her frustration however that ongoing charges will still be levied unless she wants to pay early exit charges to switch adviser.

This is because most of her investment was made in a pre-RDR contract, before the FCA introduced rules giving clients more power to discontinue their ongoing fees for services they do not want.

SJP has agreed to cancel the ongoing advice charges for investments Preece-Murray made in 2013 after the introduction of RDR.

SJP told the Sunday Times: “In our experience, one of the things our clients value most is their relationship with an adviser. However, we accept there may be exceptional circumstances, such as [the Preece-Murray case], where this may no longer be the case and on these occasions we will seek a solution on a case-by-case basis.”

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Comments

There are 10 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Please correct me if I am wrong but because the ‘advice charge’ in bundled in the investment charge cancelling it will not actually save the client any money. SJP will still charge her the same for the investment it just won’t pass part of this to the adviser.

    I realise this is not unique to SJP and most providers have a similar system on pre-RDR contracts when ‘trail commission’ is turned off to the adviser it just means the provider keeps it instead but this is talking about a post RDR contract.

    Post RDR all elements of the advice / investment are supposed to be priced individually aren’t they?

  2. I hope all of the SJP Clients that have not seen an adviser for an annual review in their home or nearby, get to hear about thgis ‘case by case’ compensation scheme. That also goes for any other adviser companies that fail to live up to their responsibilities in these uncertain and voilatile times.

  3. Duncan Carter 2nd May 2017 at 10:23 am

    A few quasi cynical comments come to mind. What was RDR really about, why does Rory Percival believe that SJP is a good model and why does the FCA insist that it is not a business model regulator. Just thinking….

  4. As usual SJP avoid integrity at all costs – YUK!

  5. Come on SJP ‘Partner’ and Anon – defend this. Probably just a coincidence but a friend of mine who has the misfortune of having a SJP plan has suddenly had the writer of the policy (I hesitate to call him an adviser) contacting him to conduct a review after years of silence! Like to see the internal memos flying around!!

  6. SJP should really conduct a full review of where and when they have failed to deliver on servicing promises and auto refund where necessary.

  7. I know an SJP adviser. She sees her top 25% of clients annually, the next 25% are invited to an annual seminar, the rest get a quarterly SJP magazine. People love it though, I’m not sure why.

  8. Julian Stevens 2nd May 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Anecdotally and allegedly I hasten to emphasise, post-sale contact from SJP salespeople is, at best, very patchy. Repeated fob-offs about this particular client’s adviser being on holiday (and then, presumably, not bothering to renew contact upon his/her return which, for most of us, would be a priority task) tend to confirm this.

    Wasn’t just one part of the RDR supposed to be that advisers, when seeking clients’ agreement to an ongoing adviser charge being deducted from their investments, must explain just what service/s they will be providing in return and then actually doing so?

  9. Is the name of the author for real?

  10. SJP = Severely Jacked-up Prices?

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